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Justices take secretary of state case

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The Indiana Supreme Court decided Tuesday to hear the appeals of a Marion County judge’s decision that found Indiana Secretary of State Charlie White ineligible to hold office.

The justices accepted jurisdiction of the two appeals pending in the Indiana Court of Appeals and consolidated the cases under cause No. 49S02-1202-MI-73. The appeals stem from Marion Circuit Judge Lou Rosenberg’s Dec. 22, 2011, decision declaring White was ineligible to be a candidate for the state office and his opponent, Democrat Vop Osili, should become secretary of state. The ruling was in response to a civil lawsuit filed by Democrats that sought to have White declared ineligible for office because he allegedly committed voter fraud.

"What the public needs now is an objective and unambiguous ruling from the Indiana Supreme Court to bring certainty, clarity and finality to this situation, 15 months after the election,” Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller said in a statement. The attorney general’s office represents the Indiana Recount Commission in the litigation. The recount commission found White eligible to appear on the 2010 ballot as a candidate for secretary of state, but that decision was overturned by the trial court.

In a separate criminal case in Hamilton County, a jury found White guilty in early February of six felony charges including voter fraud. Jerry Bonnet has been appointed as the temporary secretary of state, but Gov. Mitch Daniels held off making a permanent appointment because of the possibility White’s felony convictions could be reduced to misdemeanors, which may allow him to stay in office.

Supreme Court oral arguments are set for 9 a.m. Feb. 29.

 

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