The Indiana Supreme Court’s Disciplinary Commission argues that a hearing officer’s recommendation of a public reprimand against Delaware County Prosecutor Mark McKinney is inadequate and the elected official should receive a one-year suspension.
In a 12-page brief filed Oct. 29, the commission analyzed the findings and recommendations submitted to the Indiana Supreme Court in late September by hearing officer and then-Boone Circuit Judge Steven David, who’s since been elevated to the state’s highest court. The former trial judge recommended a public reprimand in this case that revolves around McKinney’s personal private practice of pursuing civil forfeiture cases while serving as a deputy prosecutor and after becoming elected prosecutor. The disciplinary action is In The Matter of Mark R. McKinney, No. 18S00-0905-DI-220.
“The misconduct at issue here is serious and of long standing,” the brief states. “The Hearing Officer’s Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law are clear and unequivocal; this respondent violated the law remorselessly. When viewed in the light of prior cases involving misconduct by prosecutors, the Hearing Officer’s recommendation of a public reprimand seems inappropriately low. Based on the prior cases, the Commission submits that a more appropriate resolution to this case would be to suspend the respondent indefinitely with leave to apply for reinstatement in no less than one year.”
McKinney can file a response brief to the commission’s claims and the hearing officer’s findings. Briefing should be finished by year’s end, and the justices will likely issue a disciplinary decision in 2011. McKinney completes his term as prosecutor this year after losing in the primary election, so he will no longer be in that position when the justices make a decision.
Rehearing "Discipline case poses questions on recusals, separation of powers" IL Oct. 13-26, 2010