ILNews

Prosecutor faces misconduct charges

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The Indiana Supreme Court's Disciplinary Commission has filed a complaint against Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi alleging he played to the media and violated professional conduct rules when commenting about two murder cases.

Filing a six-page complaint Oct. 1, the Disciplinary Commission is charging the 15-year prosecutor with making statements that went beyond the public informational purpose and prejudiced the pair of cases. He is charged with violating Indiana Professional Conduct Rules 3.8(f) and Rule 3.6.

The complaint says Brizzi's statements "... were not necessary to inform the public of the nature and extent of the prosecutor's action and did not serve a legitimate law enforcement purpose, and the same were extrajudicial comments that had a substantial likelihood of heightening public condemnation ...."

Some of the comments were made at an April 2008 news conference during which Brizzi speculated about accused multi-state serial killer Bruce Mendenhall's mindset at the time of the Indianapolis killing of Carma Purpura, and also detailed evidence against the man. Comments included details of the victim's death and Brizzi said: "It's almost as if he (Mendenhall) wanted to get caught and then play a game of I'm smarter than the police."

The commission's second allegation involves a 2006 news release about seven family members who were brutally killed at a Hamilton Avenue house in Indianapolis, a case in which Brizzi initially sought the death penalty. A comment in that news release stated about the defendants, "They weren't going to let anyone or anything get in the way of what they believed to be an easy score."

Defendant Desmond Turner is set to begin a bench trial early next week; the prosecutor now is seeking a penalty of life without parole. The Marion County Prosecutor's Office couldn't be reached today for comment about what, if any, impact this disciplinary action could have on that trial next week.

Neither Brizzi nor his spokesman returned messages from the newspaper seeking comment on the commission's action.

Brizzi has until the end of October to file a response to the charges, though that is not required. The Indiana Supreme Court has final say over attorney disciplinary issues, and if it finds misconduct the penalties could range from a private reprimand to suspension or disbarment.

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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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