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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. I grew up on a farm and live in the county and it's interesting that the big industrial farmers like Jeff Shoaf don't live next to their industrial operations...

  2. 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

  3. 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!

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

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