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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. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

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