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COA affirms dropped charges for ex-IURC chief Hardy

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Because David Lott Hardy, former chairman of the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission, broke no laws, a trial court didn’t abuse its discretion in dismissing felony official misconduct charges against him, the Indiana Court of Appeals held Tuesday.

“Because our Supreme Court has interpreted the official misconduct statute to require a charge of official misconduct to rest upon criminal behavior that is related to the performance of official duties, we conclude that the trial court did not abuse its discretion when it dismissed the State’s charges against Hardy,” Judge Rudy R. Pyle III wrote for the panel, citing State v. Dugan, 793 N.E.2d 1034 (Ind. 2003). “We need not address any of the State’s or Hardy’s remaining arguments.”

The state appealed Marion Superior Judge William Nelson’s dismissal of four class D felony official misconduct counts against Hardy in State of Indiana v. David Lott Hardy, 49A02-1309-CR-756.

The state claimed on appeal that the official misconduct statute did not require a predicate criminal offense.

The charges against Hardy were based on ethical and administrative violations alleged in his involvement in the permitting process for Duke Energy’s coal-gasification plant in Edwardsport. Former Gov. Mitch Daniels fired Hardy after accusations arose that he lobbied Duke officials on behalf of Scott Storms, who had been an administrative law judge hearing Duke cases at the IURC while also trying to land a job with the utility.

Hardy’s case also involved variations of the official misconduct statutes. Prior to July 1, 2011, the code defined the offense as an act a public servant  was “forbidden by law” to perform. The statute that took effect after July 1, 2011, I.C. 35-44.1-1-1 rewrote the code to require an underlying crime, and that revised statute was applied retroactively to Hardy.

Under either version, though, the court held, “Dugan unequivocally established that a charge of official conduct must be based on a criminal offense.”

It’s unclear whether the attorney general’s office will appeal.
 
"The Attorney General's Office represents the prosecution on appeal and sought to have the criminal charges reinstated in pursuit of justice, but respects the Court's ruling,” spokesman Bryan Corbin said. “The State is reviewing the Court's opinion carefully as we weigh the decision of whether to seek transfer to the Indiana Supreme Court."

 





 

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  1. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  2. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  3. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  4. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

  5. I am compelled to announce that I am not posting under any Smith monikers here. That said, the post below does have a certain ring to it that sounds familiar to me: http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2014/0907/cardinal.aspx

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