Corruption heads southeast

May 29, 2009
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Is Delaware County becoming the new Lake County in terms of political scandals and corruption? There’s a belief (which is sometimes substantiated) that Lake County doesn’t play by the rules when it comes to politics: voting scandals, unethical mayors and elected officials, things of that nature.

Now it appears to be Delaware County’s turn to rival Lake County for corruption issues based on incidents within the last couple of years.

The county had a judge resign from the bench shortly after the Indiana Judicial Qualifications Commission initiated an investigation of his business interests and judicial obligations. His resignation suspended the investigation. (In an ironic twist, the judge took over the bench in 1998 for another corrupt judge who had resigned after being charged with all sorts of corrupt behavior by the Judicial Qualifications Commission, including a sexual relationship with a client in lieu of monetary payments and that he forged her divorce decree before becoming judge, and that he continued working in private practice after serving as a full-time pro tempore judge.)

Then there’s the hoopla surrounding a lawyer who is a defense attorney and former prosecutor. He faced a charge of conspiracy to commit bribery of a witness in a criminal case. (The lawyer was found not guilty in March.)

The current county prosecutor faces disciplinary charges that he violated four professional conduct rules stemming from his role as a private attorney on civil forfeiture matters related to the criminal defendants he handled as deputy prosecutor on behalf the state. (A special prosecutor recently cleared him of criminal wrongdoing in his handling of the drug forfeiture cases).

There’s been an ongoing battle for Mayor of Muncie – which involves 19 absentee ballots deemed invalid – which the Court of Appeals just ruled on Thursday. (Affirming Sharon McShurley is the mayor.)

And yesterday, a Delaware County grand jury indicted a Muncie City Council member and firefighter on nine Class D felony counts of illegally receiving a ballot.

It used to be that Lake County was named whenever the topic of voter fraud came up, but perhaps people need to start citing Delaware County.

I know corruption can and probably does happen in every county in Indiana, but you have to figure there’s a reason why certain counties gain the reputations they do. Hopefully these are isolated incidents and not a reflection of the state of politics or the legal system in Delaware County.
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  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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!

  5. "No one is safe when the Legislature is in session."

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