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Judge rejects Charlie White’s claim of ineffective counsel

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Former Secretary of State Charlie White has been ordered to begin serving his sentence for violating Indiana’s election law after his petition for post-conviction relief was denied.

White claimed his counsel, former Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi, provided ineffective assistance and did not present material facts to the jury. Hamilton Superior Court Judge Daniel Pfleging rejected all of White’s arguments and granted the state’s motion for execution of sentence.

The judge issued an order Dec. 23 that White begin serving his sentence of one year of home detention on Jan. 10, 2014. White was convicted of six criminal counts, all Class D felonies, including voter fraud and providing a false address on his voter registration form.

White’s attorney, Andrea Ciobanu, indicated they would be appealing Pfleging’s ruling.   

“Mr. White had to request a David Hatton Proceeding because his appellate counsel did not believe the issues were properly preserved in order to pursue a direct appeal,” Ciobanu stated. “Now that the record was supplemented through our work during the PCR proceedings, Mr. White is now able to pursue his direct appeal and intends to do so, focusing on the legal factors of residency, as outlined in Indiana Code 3-5-5.”  

The court showed little patience for White’s contention that Brizzi’s decision not to call any witnesses or present evidence was detrimental to his defense.

Pfleging found each of the witnesses White wanted to testify, including his wife, Michelle, and ex-wife, Nicole, had significant problems with their statements that created credibility problems which would have caused more harm than good during trial.

“The testimony of Petitioner’s own witnesses underscored and amplified the very difficult situation in which Attorney Brizzi found himself at trial,” Pfleging wrote. “Each witness’s testimony was fraught with pitfalls that ultimately could have proven disastrous for the defendant, from the multiple statements made under oath by defendant-petitioner’s wife and former wife to the dubious credibility of his ‘expert’ witness. Michelle White, in and of herself, could well have proved to be a highly damaging witness against her own husband had she taken the stand and perjured herself.”




 

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  • No prison time
    The prior comment about "prison time" is incorrect, as White was sentenced to home detention, community service, and a fine, there was no jail time. And it was not "politically motivated either", about which I have previously written. Two Republican judges in a Republican county, and a Grand Jury and trial jury, have all held against White. He simply cannot accept responsibility for his acts.
  • disagree, newsworthy topic
    The prosecution of white was politically motivated, sure, but that is sauce for the goose and the gander alike. There is no bias in covering this story and the idea that this newspaper's coverage of his saga is the proximate cause of his incarceration is silly. The fellow was an elected official hence very newsworthy and so are his travails. The judge made a sound decision in this case and the article covers it fairly. Brizzi's defense was plenty competent. White worsens his own situation by ringing the bell all over again.
  • No Mens Rea
    I know Charlie and do not believe he had mens rea to commit a felony violation of the election laws. Were it not for the Indianapolis Star's attempt to boost its circulation by its vendetta against him, this would have been dropped long ago. While his actions were, no doubt, ill-advised and foolish, there is no reason for him to be a felon and do prison time.

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    1. A traditional parade of attorneys? Really Evansville? Y'all need to get out more. When is the traditional parade of notaries? Nurses? Sanitation workers? Pole dancers? I gotta wonder, do throngs of admiring citizens gather to laud these marching servants of the constitution? "Show us your billing records!!!" Hoping some video gets posted. Ours is not a narcissistic profession by any chance, is it? Nah .....

    2. My previous comment not an aside at court. I agree with smith. Good call. Just thought posting here a bit on the if it bleeds it leads side. Most attorneys need to think of last lines of story above.

    3. Hello everyone I'm Gina and I'm here for the exact same thing you are. I have the wonderful joy of waking up every morning to my heart being pulled out and sheer terror of what DCS is going to Throw at me and my family today.Let me start from the !bebeginning.My daughter lost all rights to her 3beautiful children due to Severe mental issues she no longer lives in our state and has cut all ties.DCS led her to belive that once she done signed over her right the babies would be with their family. We have faught screamed begged and anything else we could possibly due I hired a lawyer five grand down the drain.You know all I want is my babies home.I've done everything they have even asked me to do.Now their saying I can't see my grandchildren cause I'M on a prescription for paipain.I have a very rare blood disease it causes cellulitis a form of blood poisoning to stay dormant in my tissues and nervous system it also causes a ,blood clotting disorder.even with the two blood thinners I'm on I still Continue to develop them them also.DCS knows about my illness and still they refuse to let me see my grandchildren. I Love and miss them so much Please can anyone help Us my grandchildren and I they should be worrying about what toy there going to play with but instead there worrying about if there ever coming home again.THANK YOU DCS FOR ALL YOU'VE DONE. ( And if anyone at all has any ideals or knows who can help. Please contact (765)960~5096.only serious callers

    4. He must be a Rethuglican, for if from the other side of the aisle such acts would be merely personal and thus not something that attaches to his professional life. AND ... gotta love this ... oh, and on top of talking dirty on the phone, he also, as an aside, guess we should mention, might be important, not sure, but .... "In addition to these allegations, Keaton was accused of failing to file an appeal after he collected advance payment from a client seeking to challenge a ruling that the client repay benefits because of unreported income." rimshot

    5. I am not a fan of some of the 8.4 discipline we have seen for private conduct-- but this was so egregious and abusive and had so many points of bad conduct relates to the law and the lawyer's status as a lawyer that it is clearly a proper and just disbarment. A truly despicable account of bad acts showing unfit character to practice law. I applaud the outcome.

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