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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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