ILNews

Theft case requires special prosecutor

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The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed the denial of a man's request for the reappointment of a special prosecutor because the original basis for appointing the special prosecutor still existed even after one charge was dropped.

Bruce Jones was charged with felony theft, felony forgery, felony impersonating a public servant, and being a habitual offender. Jones would telephone the local chapter of the American Red Cross and say he was Curtis Hill, the elected prosecutor of Elkhart County. Jones claimed he was calling on behalf of people who had been victims of disasters and successfully got disaster relief funds twice from the organization. He was caught on his third attempt.

The state filed motions requesting a special prosecutor to avoid the appearance of impropriety. A special prosecutor was appointed, but when an Elkhart Deputy Prosecutor filed a motion to dismiss the impersonating a public servant charge, the special prosecutor withdrew his appearance on the basis he was no longer necessary. Jones moved for the reappointment of a special prosecutor and was denied, resulting in the appeal in Bruce Jones v. State of Indiana, No. 20A04-0808-CR-462.

Even though the impersonating a public servant charge was dropped, the need for a special prosecutor didn't end, wrote Judge Michael Barnes. When the charges were first filed, Hill told news media he was troubled that a local business and organization had been victimized by someone using his name, and based on that statement, the general public could be led to believe that Hill would be motivated to treat Jones more harshly than an "ordinary" theft suspect, wrote the judge. The filings in the case suggested the special prosecutor was requested and appointed for the general purpose of avoiding the appearance of impropriety in Jones' prosecution for all the charges.

"The dismissal changed the form of the case against Jones, but the substance was largely unchanged. The trial court erred in not appointing another special prosecutor or, alternatively, permitting the appointed the special prosecutor to withdraw his appearance," wrote Judge Barnes.

The appellate court remanded for the appointment of a special prosecutor in the forgery and theft cases against Jones.

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  1. Hail to our Constitutional Law Expert in the Executive Office! “What you’re not paying attention to is the fact that I just took an action to change the law,” Obama said.

  2. What is this, the Ind Supreme Court thinking that there is a separation of powers and limited enumerated powers as delegated by a dusty old document? Such eighteen century thinking, so rare and unwanted by the elites in this modern age. Dictate to us, dictate over us, the massess are chanting! George Soros agrees. Time to change with times Ind Supreme Court, says all President Snows. Rule by executive decree is the new black.

  3. I made the same argument before a commission of the Indiana Supreme Court and then to the fedeal district and federal appellate courts. Fell flat. So very glad to read that some judges still beleive that evidentiary foundations matter.

  4. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  5. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

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