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Dropped charges against former IURC chief won’t be appealed

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The state no longer is contesting the dismissal of official misconduct charges against former Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission Chairman David Lott Hardy.

Hardy’s attorney, David Hensel of Pence Hensel LLC, said time for the state to seek further review of court rulings dismissing the charges had expired, leaving to stand an April 29 Court of Appeals ruling.

Former Gov. Mitch Daniels fired Hardy after he was accused of allowing then-IURC administrative law judge Scott Storms to continue to hear Duke Energy cases even as Storms was trying to land a job with the utility. Hardy also was accused of having ex parte communications with Duke about its Edwardsport coal-gasification power plant project in 2010.

Hardy was indicted on Class D felony official misconduct charges by a Marion County grand jury in 2010, but Marion Superior Judge William Nelson later dismissed the charges. The state appealed the ruling.

The Court of Appeals affirmed dismissal of the charges. The appellate panel ruled that precedent and caselaw establish the official misconduct statute may not be applied without an underlying criminal offense, and there were none in Hardy’s case.

Hensel said the arguments that prevailed at the trial and appellate courts were the same that failed to dissuade Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry from filing charges.
 
“Mr. Hardy is gratified that the Court of Appeals unanimously confirmed that he did not engage in any criminal conduct and upheld the dismissal of all charges against him,” Hensel said in a statement.

Bryan Corbin, spokesman for the Indiana attorney general’s office, said that because the Legislature amended the statute after charges against Hardy were dropped, any appeal would have applied only in his case.

 “After carefully reviewing the Indiana Court of Appeals’ April 29 decision that upheld dismissal of charges … and after consulting with the Marion County prosecutor, the Indiana attorney general’s office determined that an appeal to the Indiana Supreme Court is likely unwinnable even if the Court accepted the case for hearing, so it would not be appropriate to request transfer here,” Corbin said.



 

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