ILNews

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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  2. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  3. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  4. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  5. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

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