State of Indiana v. David Lott Hardy - 3/31/14

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Monday  March 31, 2014 
10:00 AM  EST

10 a.m. 49A02-1309-CR-756. The State appeals the trial court’s dismissal of its four charges of Class D felony official misconduct against David Lott Hardy (“Hardy”), the former Chairman of the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission.  The bases for the charges were four of Hardy’s actions between 2008 and 2010 that allegedly violated Indiana law, including a violation of Indiana ethics laws, a civil law infraction, and two violations of administrative regulations.  Under a previous version of Indiana’s official misconduct statute, Ind. Code § 35-44-1-2 (2010), the State could charge a public servant with official misconduct for “knowingly or intentionally perform[ing] an act that the public servant [was] forbidden by law to perform.”  Historically, the phrase “forbidden by law” included administrative and civil violations such as the ones for which the State charged Hardy.  However, in 2011, the Indiana Legislature amended I.C. § 35-44-1-2 so that a public servant could only be charged for “an offense” committed “in the performance of the public servant’s official duties.”  Pursuant to I.C. § 35-31.5-2-215 and I.C. § 35-31.5-2-75, the term “offense” only encompasses felonies or misdemeanors.  The trial court dismissed the charges against Hardy because it determined that this amendment was remedial in nature and applied to Hardy retroactively, even though his alleged violations occurred before the amendment.  On appeal, the State disputes the trial court’s interpretation of the amendment as remedial and its dismissal of the State’s charges based on a retroactive application of the amendment.

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