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Judge sues prosecutor for intimidation, retribution

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A Delaware County judge is claiming that county prosecutor Mark McKinney and a former deputy prosecutor threatened and intimidated the judge and his wife based on the judge’s ruling on how McKinney handled civil drug forfeitures.

Delaware Circuit 2 Judge Richard Dailey and his wife, Nancy, filed the lawsuit Aug. 18 in Delaware Circuit Court 1 against McKinney, former chief administrative deputy prosecutor Ronald Henderson, the state, and Delaware County. The judge and his wife allege that McKinney, Henderson and others in the Delaware County Prosecutor’s Office entered into “a conspiracy to intimidate, extract retribution, and discredit” Judge Dailey because of the judge’s finding in August 2008 that the way McKinney handled civil drug forfeitures amounted to fraud on the court.

Judge Dailey found that the city accounts in which the proceeds from the civil drug forfeitures were deposited weren’t general fund accounts as required by law, but were accessible by members of the Muncie-Delaware County Drug Task Force, an entity McKinney also represented as its attorney. At the time of these forfeitures, McKinney was a deputy prosecutor before being elected prosecutor in January 2007. The judge also ruled that the “Confidential Settlement Agreements” weren’t approved by courts, law enforcement costs weren’t detailed and forfeited assets weren’t apportioned to fiscal bodies, and McKinney handled civil drug forfeitures as private counsel for which he was paid after being elected prosecutor, all in violation of Indiana law.

The plaintiffs claim in August 2008, after Judge Dailey’s ruling, Henderson publicly objected to Nancy’s employment as development officer for the Youth Opportunity Center in the county, threatened to object to every proposed juvenile placement at the facility while she worked there, and drove slowly past her parking spot at the center. Nancy eventually resigned.

The suit also alleges that McKinney made comments to local newspapers in order to discredit, intimidate, or extract retribution against the judge, as well as that the defendants manufactured a criminal case against Judge Dailey.

They claim the defendants’ actions violated the Daileys’ Fourth, Fifth, Eighth, and 14th amendment rights, that their reputations continue to be severely damaged, and they suffer from emotional distress. They seek a judgment to compensate them, punitive damages, reasonable attorney’s fees, and other relief.

According to the suit, Judge Dailey informed the Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission in late August 2008 about the alleged policy in the prosecutor’s office to discredit him based on his ruling on the civil forfeitures issue. McKinney currently faces disciplinary charges in connection to his role as a private attorney on the civil forfeiture matters. According to the docket in his disciplinary case, the Disciplinary Commission's tender of the hearing officer’s findings of fact and conclusions of law, brief in support of the proposed findings, and McKinney’s proposed findings of fact, conclusions of law, and recommendations to the court were entered Friday. Boone Circuit Judge Steven David, a finalist for the upcoming Indiana Supreme Court vacancy, is the appointed hearing officer.
 

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  3. This is happening so much. Even in 2016.2017. I hope the father sue for civil rights violation. I hope he sue as more are doing and even without a lawyer as pro-se, he got a good one here. God bless him.

  4. JLAP and other courtiers ... Those running court systems, have most substance abuse issues. Probably self medicating to cover conscience issues arising out of acts furthering govt corruption

  5. I whole-heartedly agree with Doug Church's comment, above. Indiana lawyers were especially fortunate to benefit from Tom Pyrz' leadership and foresight at a time when there has been unprecedented change in the legal profession. Consider how dramatically computer technology and its role in the practice of law have changed over the last 25 years. The impact of the great recession of 2008 dramatically changed the composition and structure of law firms across the country. Economic pressures altered what had long been a routine, robust annual recruitment process for law students and recent law school graduates. That has, in turn, impacted law school enrollment across the country, placing upward pressure on law school tuition. The internet continues to drive significant changes in the provision of legal services in both public and private sectors. The ISBA has worked to make quality legal representation accessible and affordable for all who need it and to raise general public understanding of Indiana laws and procedures. How difficult it would have been to tackle each of these issues without Tom's leadership. Tom has set the tone for positive change at the ISBA to meet the evolving practice needs of lawyers of all backgrounds and ages. He has led the organization with vision, patience, flexibility, commitment, thoughtfulness & even humor. He will, indeed, be a tough act to follow. Thank you, Tom, for all you've done and all the energy you've invested in making the ISBA an excellent, progressive, highly responsive, all-inclusive, respectful & respected professional association during his tenure there.

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