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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. Well, maybe it's because they are unelected, and, they have a tendency to strike down laws by elected officials from all over the country. When you have been taught that "Democracy" is something almost sacred, then, you will have a tendency to frown on such imperious conduct. Lawyers get acculturated in law school into thinking that this is the very essence of high minded government, but to people who are more heavily than King George ever did, they may not like it. Thanks for the information.

  2. I pd for a bankruptcy years ago with Mr Stiles and just this week received a garnishment from my pay! He never filed it even though he told me he would! Don't let this guy practice law ever again!!!

  3. Excellent initiative on the part of the AG. Thankfully someone takes action against predators taking advantage of people who have already been through the wringer. Well done!

  4. Conour will never turn these funds over to his defrauded clients. He tearfully told the court, and his daughters dutifully pledged in interviews, that his first priority is to repay every dime of the money he stole from his clients. Judge Young bought it, much to the chagrin of Conour’s victims. Why would Conour need the $2,262 anyway? Taxpayers are now supporting him, paying for his housing, utilities, food, healthcare, and clothing. If Conour puts the money anywhere but in the restitution fund, he’s proved, once again, what a con artist he continues to be and that he has never had any intention of repaying his clients. Judge Young will be proven wrong... again; Conour has no remorse and the Judge is one of the many conned.

  5. Pass Legislation to require guilty defendants to pay for the costs of lab work, etc as part of court costs...

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