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Judge allows Charlie White to remain in office pending appeal

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Recognizing the judiciary has the ability to minimize damage caused by the ongoing Indiana secretary of state court challenge, a Marion Circuit judge has put a hold on his ruling that the state’s top election official be immediately removed from office and a successor appointed.

Instead, Judge Lou Rosenberg ruled Wednesday that Secretary of State Charlie White can remain in office while the Indiana appellate court hears his case.

The two-page order follows Rosenberg’s Dec. 22 decision ruling White ineligible to be a candidate for the state office in the November 2010 election because he allegedly committed voter fraud. An appeal is in the works, and most believe the case is on a fast track to the Indiana Supreme Court. Rosenberg is allowing White to remain in office until the appellate courts can consider the issues.

State Democrats called for an investigation into White two months before the 2010 general election after discovering he voted in the Republican spring primary while registered to vote at his ex-wife's house in Fishers. After the three-member Recount Commission in June 2011 allowed White to keep his job, the Democrats appealed in court and Rosenberg determined the record shows White wasn’t residing at the home he listed for voting as is statutorily required.

Just before Christmas, White and the commission asked Rosenberg to stay his ruling pending appeal. In making his decision, Rosenberg considered the public harm that could result by each of the potential decisions – to grant the stay and have the ruling upheld on appeal, to grant the stay and be reversed, and to deny the stay and be reversed.

The judge pointed out that no harm would result from granting the stay if the decision is reversed, but the other two options presented concerns.

“If the Court grants the stay and its decision is upheld, there will be irreparable harm to the public measured by the delay in implementing the trial court’s decision,” he wrote. “The appellate court’s may, however, expedite the consideration of an appeal. Thus, whatever harm may result from a granting of the stay can be minimized by the appellate courts.”

He continued, “If the court denies the stay and its decision is reversed, however, the negative consequences would be great and irreparable. If White were removed pursuant to this Court’s Judgment and then reinstated as a result of reversal on appeal, key personnel currently serving under Mr. White might become unavailable in the interim. Important decisions might be twice reversed causing confusion on many important issues. The denial of a stay together with a subsequent reversal would unnecessarily weaken the performance of the Secretary of State regarding many critical functions, not the least of which is oversight of the forthcoming general election.”

Noting that turmoil might be unavoidable if White is convicted in a separate criminal voter fraud case ongoing in Hamilton County, Rosenberg wrote that controversy could result in how White’s successor is chosen. He previously ruled that Democrat Vop Osili, the candidate receiving the second-highest number of votes in 2010, should be appointed. But he has now declined to intervene on that question.

The Indiana attorney general’s office plans to appeal Rosenberg’s ruling on behalf of the Recount Commission, while separately White’s private counsel has filed notice of appeal to the Indiana Court of Appeals.

 

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  1. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  2. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  3. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  4. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

  5. I am compelled to announce that I am not posting under any Smith monikers here. That said, the post below does have a certain ring to it that sounds familiar to me: http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2014/0907/cardinal.aspx

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