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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. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  2. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  3. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  4. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

  5. I am compelled to announce that I am not posting under any Smith monikers here. That said, the post below does have a certain ring to it that sounds familiar to me: http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2014/0907/cardinal.aspx

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