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Deputy prosecutor receives public reprimand

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A Hancock County deputy prosecutor has received a public reprimand from the Indiana Supreme Court for surrendering prosecutorial discretion and allowing a corporate check fraud victim to dictate the terms of restitution as a pre-condition to a plea agreement.

The court ruled Thursday in the disciplinary action, In the Matter of Nancy J. Flatt-Moore, No. 30S00-0911-DI-535, out of Hancock County. Nancy J. Flatt-Moore was hired in 2007 as a deputy prosecutor and assigned to prosecute a check fraud case, utilizing a newly elected prosecutor’s policy of getting police and victim approval on felony plea agreements. But the policy didn’t allow victims to set the terms of conditions, as happened here.

Flatt-Moore offered a plea agreement allowing the defendant to plead guilty to the Class D felony check fraud charge but receive a Class A misdemeanor sentence, on the condition that the attorney agree to whatever terms and amounts the company Big Rivers was demanding,

The court found she violated Rule 8.4(d) prohibiting attorneys from engaging in conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice by permitting the company to use the criminal case as leverage in a separate civil suit against the same person.

“This is not to suggest that prosecutors may not allow crime victims to have substantial and meaningful input into plea agreements offered to the offenders at whose hands they suffered,” the court decision says. “If a prosecutor puts the conditions for resolving similar crimes entirely in the hands of the victims, defendants whose victims are unreasonable or vindictive cannot receive the same consideration as defendants whose victims are reasonable in their demands. At the very least, such a practice gives the appearance that resolution of criminal charges could turn on the whims of victims rather than the equities of each case.”

Justices disagreed with Flatt-Moore’s argument that disciplining a deputy prosecutor based on the acts of prosecutorial discretion violates separation of powers. The court cited its own precedent to find attorneys must follow the professional conduct rules in handling plea bargaining and other acts involving prosecutorial discretion.

 

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  1. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  2. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

  3. I will agree with that as soon as law schools stop lying to prospective students about salaries and employment opportunities in the legal profession. There is no defense to the fraudulent numbers first year salaries they post to mislead people into going to law school.

  4. The sad thing is that no fish were thrown overboard The "greenhorn" who had never fished before those 5 days was interrogated for over 4 hours by 5 officers until his statement was illicited, "I don't want to go to prison....." The truth is that these fish were measured frozen off shore and thawed on shore. The FWC (state) officer did not know fish shrink, so the only reason that these fish could be bigger was a swap. There is no difference between a 19 1/2 fish or 19 3/4 fish, short fish is short fish, the ticket was written. In addition the FWC officer testified at trial, he does not measure fish in accordance with federal law. There was a document prepared by the FWC expert that said yes, fish shrink and if these had been measured correctly they averaged over 20 inches (offshore frozen). This was a smoke and mirror prosecution.

  5. I love this, Dave! Many congrats to you! We've come a long way from studying for the bar together! :)

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