ILNews

Judge rejects Charlie White’s claim of ineffective counsel

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

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.”




 

ADVERTISEMENT

  • 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.

    Post a comment to this story

    COMMENTS POLICY
    We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
     
    You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
     
    Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in Indiana Lawyer editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
     
    No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
     
    We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
     

    Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

    Sponsored by

    facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

    Indiana State Bar Association

    Indianapolis Bar Association

    Evansville Bar Association

    Allen County Bar Association

    Indiana Lawyer on Facebook

    facebook
    ADVERTISEMENT
    Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
    1. My daughter was taken from my home at the end of June/2014. I said I would sign the safety plan but my husband would not. My husband said he would leave the house so my daughter could stay with me but the case worker said no her mind is made up she is taking my daughter. My daughter went to a friends and then the friend filed a restraining order which she was told by dcs if she did not then they would take my daughter away from her. The restraining order was not in effect until we were to go to court. Eventually it was dropped but for 2 months DCS refused to allow me to have any contact and was using the restraining order as the reason but it was not in effect. This was Dcs violating my rights. Please help me I don't have the money for an attorney. Can anyone take this case Pro Bono?

    2. If justice is not found in a court room, it's time to clean house!!! Even judges are accountable to a higher Judge!!!

    3. The small claims system, based on my recent and current usage of it, is not exactly a shining example of justice prevailing. The system appears slow and clunky and people involved seem uninterested in actually serving justice within a reasonable time frame. Any improvement in accountability and performance would gain a vote from me. Speaking of voting, what do the people know about judges and justice from the bench perspective. I think they have a tendency to "vote" for judges based on party affiliation or name coolness factor (like Stoner, for example!). I don't know what to do in my current situation other than grin and bear it, but my case is an example of things working neither smoothly, effectively nor expeditiously. After this experience I'd pay more to have the higher courts hear the case -- if I had the money. Oh the conundrum.

    4. My dear Smith, I was beginning to fear, from your absense, that some Obrien of the Nanny State had you in Room 101. So glad to see you back and speaking truth to power, old chum.

    5. here is one from Reason magazine. these are not my words, but they are legitimate concerns. http://reason.com/blog/2010/03/03/fearmongering-at-the-splc quote: "The Southern Poverty Law Center, which would paint a box of Wheaties as an extremist threat if it thought that would help it raise funds, has issued a new "intelligence report" announcing that "an astonishing 363 new Patriot groups appeared in 2009, with the totals going from 149 groups (including 42 militias) to 512 (127 of them militias) -- a 244% jump." To illustrate how dangerous these groups are, the Center cites some recent arrests of right-wing figures for planning or carrying out violent attacks. But it doesn't demonstrate that any of the arrestees were a part of the Patriot milieu, and indeed it includes some cases involving racist skinheads, who are another movement entirely. As far as the SPLC is concerned, though, skinheads and Birchers and Glenn Beck fans are all tied together in one big ball of scary. The group delights in finding tenuous ties between the tendencies it tracks, then describing its discoveries in as ominous a tone as possible." --- I wonder if all the republicans that belong to the ISBA would like to know who and why this outfit was called upon to receive such accolades. I remember when they were off calling Trent Lott a bigot too. Preposterous that this man was brought to an overwhelmingly republican state to speak. This is a nakedly partisan institution and it was a seriously bad choice.

    ADVERTISEMENT