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Plea deal rejected for ex-Indiana county auditor

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 Lawyers are reworking an agreement under which a former county auditor in southern Indiana was expected to plead guilty to criminal charges of wrongly paying personal expenses with county-issued credit cards.

The Owen County judge overseeing the case against former Monroe County Auditor Amy Gerstman rejected a proposed plea agreement during a court hearing Monday.

Gerstman, 44, faces felony counts of theft and official misconduct related to some $11,000 in charges during 2010 and 2011 for clothing, travel to New York and Florida and her children's school tuition.

The penalties in the proposed plea agreement weren't released, but special prosecutor Barry Brown said the judge wanted Gerstman to face greater punishment.

"She wants the defendant to take more accountability for her actions," Brown told The Herald-Times.

Gerstman is a Democrat who was elected in 2008 and served a four-year term in the county that includes Bloomington.

Defense attorney Ron Chapman said he submitted a new proposed plea agreement to Brown later Monday.

Chapman said Gerstman has paid all of the county credit card bills and was working to repay $3,600 in fees the county has had to pay during the investigation. He said he hopes Gerstman can avoid a felony conviction.

"Having seven felonies pending against her has pretty much kept her out of the job market," he said. "No one will hire her, and she is the sole support for her two children."

Judge Lori Quillen scheduled a new plea hearing for Sept. 19.

The misspending charges include the use of county credit cards to pay $1,800 in school tuition for Gerstman's children and nearly $2,600 for airfare, hotel accommodations and a seminar in New York City that Gerstman never attended.

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  1. 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.

  2. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  3. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  4. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

  5. "No one is safe when the Legislature is in session."

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