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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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  2. Hail to our Constitutional Law Expert in the Executive Office! “What you’re not paying attention to is the fact that I just took an action to change the law,” Obama said.

  3. What is this, the Ind Supreme Court thinking that there is a separation of powers and limited enumerated powers as delegated by a dusty old document? Such eighteen century thinking, so rare and unwanted by the elites in this modern age. Dictate to us, dictate over us, the massess are chanting! George Soros agrees. Time to change with times Ind Supreme Court, says all President Snows. Rule by executive decree is the new black.

  4. I made the same argument before a commission of the Indiana Supreme Court and then to the fedeal district and federal appellate courts. Fell flat. So very glad to read that some judges still beleive that evidentiary foundations matter.

  5. 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.

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