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Ex-Marion County court workers charged in ticket-fixing scheme

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Two former Marion County traffic court bailiffs have been charged with dozens of felonies in a ticket-fixing scandal, Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry announced Thursday.

Evelyn Hughes and Carnetta Arthur were arrested Wednesday as a result of a report made by Marion Superior Courts to the prosecutor’s grand jury division.  Hughes was charged with 49 counts, including bribery as Level 5 and Class C felonies, forgery as Level 6 and Class C felonies, and official misconduct as Level 6 or Class D felonies. Arthur faces 14 counts, including Level 6 or Class C felony forgery and Level 6 or Class D felony official misconduct.

Marion Superior Court administrator Emily VanOsdol said in a statement the court could not comment on pending legal matters and noted Arthur and Hughes were no longer employed by the courts.

Hughes is accused of taking cash to make several infraction or ordinance violation cases go away in Marion Superior Traffic Court from early 2012 through March 2015. She is accused of forging the signatures of former Traffic Court Judges William Young, James Joven or current Traffic Court Judge Marcel Pratt, or imputing computer codes to dismiss cases or vacate those judges’ rulings.

The charges against Arthur are similar, though there are no charges that she accepted bribes to fix traffic court cases.

A special judge will be appointed in the cases because of the defendants’ former employment with Marion Superior Courts. According to online court records, 10 protective orders have been issued in the case against Hughes and six against Arthur. Initial hearings for both defendants are set for Thursday afternoon.   

According to a detective’s probable cause affidavit, Hughes was terminated from traffic court in March 2015. The affidavit alleges witnesses said they gave acquaintances sums of $180 to $429 to provide to Hughes, who then vacated judgments or dismissed cases. The affidavit said Arthur also vacated several unpaid judgments, including four of Hughes’ traffic court cases.

The bailiffs also are accused of approving insurance waivers and dismissing cases for motorists who in some cases had their licenses suspended by the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, according to the affidavit.

“During their time as bailiffs, they used their positions to forge judge’s signatures on documents, dismissed cases they were not authorized to dismiss, altered court records they were not authorized to alter, removed fees owed to Marion County/City of Indianapolis  without authorization, and forwarded forged court documents to the Indiana BMV to clear driving records of suspensions and/or reinstatement/insurance fees without authorization, knowing the Indiana BMV would rely on such documents,” the probable cause affidavit says.

The prosecutor’s office noted that in a separate and unrelated case, a former bailiff at the Arrestee Processing Center of the Marion County Jail is accused of accessing law enforcement databases for personal use without proper authority or permission. Crystal Jones was charged December 29 with seven counts of official misconduct as Level 6 and Class D felonies and two misdemeanor counts of computer trespass.

According to the prosecutor’s office, Jones is accused of accessing information from multiple law enforcement databases for nonofficial reasons without permission or consent in the performance of her official duties, and providing that information to defendants. Jones is also accused of using her official access to complete a bail interview without permission or consent in which she knew the defendant and provided false information knowing that information would be considered by a judge for determination of a bond.

Hancock Superior Judge Dan E. Marshall has been appointed to hear Jones’ case due to her prior employment with Marion County Superior Court.

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  • Corruption abounds
    Think about the unstated story here ... "Hughes is accused of taking cash to make several infraction or ordinance violation cases go away in Marion Superior Traffic Court from early 2012 through March 2015." OK, so the SOL is likely why the counts stop at 2012. Great question for the media .... how long had this corruption, systemic in scope, been going on undetected by the powers that be? NO ONE knew? Very difficult to believe that given the scope of the wrongdoing: “During their time as bailiffs, they used their positions to forge judge’s signatures on documents, dismissed cases they were not authorized to dismiss, altered court records they were not authorized to alter, removed fees owed to Marion County/City of Indianapolis without authorization, and forwarded forged court documents to the Indiana BMV to clear driving records of suspensions and/or reinstatement/insurance fees without authorization" YET NO JUDICAL OFFICER KNEW? Add to all of that this: "accessing information from multiple law enforcement databases for nonofficial reasons without permission or consent in the performance of her official duties, and providing that information to defendants. Jones is also accused of using her official access to complete a bail interview without permission or consent in which she knew the defendant and provided false information knowing that information would be considered by a judge for determination of a bond." AND NO LAW ENFORCEMENT MANAGERS KNEW? Who knew and kept silent during the long years this was taking place? Journalists ... even wonder where whistleblowers are when you most need them Indianapolis? Lesson: If your governments are allowed to persecute and destroy whistleblowers, as Indiana does, well then they are not around when you need them. And thus corruption abounds ... and when the journalist pay no nevermind .... corruption really, really abounds.

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  1. Please I need help with my class action lawsuits, im currently in pro-se and im having hard time findiNG A LAWYER TO ASSIST ME

  2. Access to the court (judiciary branch of government) is the REAL problem, NOT necessarily lack of access to an attorney. Unfortunately, I've lived in a legal and financial hell for the past six years due to a divorce (where I was, supposedly, represented by an attorney) in which I was defrauded of settlement and the other party (and helpers) enriched through the fraud. When I attempted to introduce evidence and testify (pro se) in a foreclosure/eviction, I was silenced (apparently on procedural grounds, as research I've done since indicates). I was thrown out of a residence which was to be sold, by a judge who refused to allow me to speak in (the supposedly "informal") small claims court where the eviction proceeding (by ex-brother-in-law) was held. Six years and I can't even get back on solid or stable ground ... having bank account seized twice, unlawfully ... and now, for the past year, being dragged into court - again, contrary to law and appellate decisions - by former attorney, who is trying to force payment from exempt funds. Friday will mark fifth appearance. Hopefully, I'll be allowed to speak. The situation I find myself in shouldn't even be possible, much less dragging out with no end in sight, for years. I've done nothing wrong, but am watching a lot of wrong being accomplished under court jurisdiction; only because I was married to someone who wanted and was granted a divorce (but was not willing to assume the responsibilities that come with granting the divorce). In fact, the recalcitrant party was enriched by well over $100k, although it was necessarily split with other actors. Pro bono help? It's a nice dream ... but that's all it is, for too many. Meanwhile, injustice marches on.

  3. Both sites mentioned in the article appear to be nonfunctional to date (March 28, 2017). http://indianalegalanswers.org/ returns a message stating the "server is taking too long to respond" and http://www.abafreelegalasnswers.org/ "can't find the server". Although this does not surprise me, it is disheartening to know that access to the judicial branch of government remains out of reach for too many citizens (for procedural rather than meritorious reasons) of Indiana. Any updates regarding this story?

  4. I've been denied I appeal court date took a year my court date was Nov 9,2016 and have not received a answer yet

  5. Warsaw indiana dcs lying on our case. We already proved that in our first and most recent court appearance i need people to contact me who have evidence of dcs malpractice please email or facebook nathaniel hollett thank you

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