Former Secretary of State Charlie White has been ordered to begin serving his sentence for violating Indiana’s election law after his petition for post-conviction relief was denied.
White claimed his counsel, former Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi, provided ineffective assistance and did not present material facts to the jury. Hamilton Superior Court Judge Daniel Pfleging rejected all of White’s arguments and granted the state’s motion for execution of sentence.
The judge issued an order Dec. 23 that White begin serving his sentence of one year of home detention on Jan. 10, 2014. White was convicted of six criminal counts, all Class D felonies, including voter fraud and providing a false address on his voter registration form.
White’s attorney, Andrea Ciobanu, indicated they would be appealing Pfleging’s ruling.
“Mr. White had to request a David Hatton Proceeding because his appellate counsel did not believe the issues were properly preserved in order to pursue a direct appeal,” Ciobanu stated. “Now that the record was supplemented through our work during the PCR proceedings, Mr. White is now able to pursue his direct appeal and intends to do so, focusing on the legal factors of residency, as outlined in Indiana Code 3-5-5.”
The court showed little patience for White’s contention that Brizzi’s decision not to call any witnesses or present evidence was detrimental to his defense.
Pfleging found each of the witnesses White wanted to testify, including his wife, Michelle, and ex-wife, Nicole, had significant problems with their statements that created credibility problems which would have caused more harm than good during trial.
“The testimony of Petitioner’s own witnesses underscored and amplified the very difficult situation in which Attorney Brizzi found himself at trial,” Pfleging wrote. “Each witness’s testimony was fraught with pitfalls that ultimately could have proven disastrous for the defendant, from the multiple statements made under oath by defendant-petitioner’s wife and former wife to the dubious credibility of his ‘expert’ witness. Michelle White, in and of herself, could well have proved to be a highly damaging witness against her own husband had she taken the stand and perjured herself.”