IndyBar defends Marion County Courts, accuses FOP president of ‘inaccurate allegations’

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Allegations about a Marion County judge made by the president of the Indianapolis Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge #86, is drawing sharp rebuttal from the Indianapolis Bar Association, which is asserting the community does not benefit from “reckless rhetoric.”

The bar association issued a response Friday to the FOP announcing its plans to hold a vote of confidence regarding Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears and the Marion County Courts. According to the Aug. 4 announcement, FOP membership directed the vote be taken following the fatal shooting of Elwood Police Officer Noah Shahnavaz during a traffic stop July 31.

In a statement on his Twitter account, FOP President Rick Snyder claimed the suspect in the shooting, Carl Roy Webb Boards II, was previously convicted of shooting at police in Indianapolis but “was released following a lenient modified sentence from a Marion County Judge.”

The IndyBar released a statement Friday saying the facts of the sentencing are contrary to Snyder’s “irresponsible statements.”

“Either Mr. Snyder reviewed the record and is aware of these facts (and consciously disregarded them), or he chose not to review the record and has recklessly made false allegations in a matter of serious public import,” the IndyBar stated. “Either alternative is beneath the expected standards for our community’s conversation and discourse about public safety.”

Snyder did not respond to multiple messages from Indiana Lawyer seeking comment.

According to IndyBar, Boards received an enhanced sentence of 25 years after he was convicted by a jury. The association did not identify the actual length of the sentence imposed but said it was “near the maximum permitted by Indiana law” and was not modified.

In April 2019, IndyBar stated, Boards was nearing the completion of his sentence and Marion County Community Corrections recommended that he be placed into the Indiana Community Transition Program, which was approved by the court.

Boards entered the CTP in May 2019 and, after completing the program, began his post-sentence parole period in August 2019. He completed his parole in August 2020. Even if he had not been placed in CTP, Boards would still have been free from supervision in July 2022.

“Mr. Snyder’s attempt to draw a line between Officer Shahnavaz’s tragic death and the Defendant’s Marion County conviction is not only inaccurate, it is dangerous,” the bar stated. “It would lead an uninformed person to conclude that the Court in this matter somehow exhibited leniency that resulted in the death of a law enforcement officer. Our community does not benefit from such reckless rhetoric.”

Boards has been charged with murder and the Madison County Prosecutor’s Office is preparing to seek the death penalty, according to The Herald Bulletin.

Snyder’s announcement claimed the vote was also in response to “several other incidents of failures to act” by Mears. The FOP president specifically references the February 2022 shooting that seriously wounded Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Officer Thomas Mangan and the April 2021 mass shooting at the Indianapolis FedEx facility.

A date for the FOP vote has not been provided, but Snyder tweeted on Aug. 7 that the vote was expected to fall within the next two weeks with “multiple police agencies represented.”

The Marion County Prosecutor’s Office did not response to a request for comment. Marion Superior Courts referred to IndyBar’s statement when asked for a comment.

IndyBar stated it was rebutting Snyder’s “inaccurate allegations” so the public would not assume they are true.

“Given our judiciary’s inability to meaningfully respond to Mr. Snyder’s proclamations, IndyBar has an obligation to do so,” the association stated. “Public safety, and justice, is paramount to our members and the larger community. Unlike Mr. Snyder, we are bound by ethical rules that prohibit us from offering false narratives in the public sphere.”

IndyBar stated no judicial officers who are members of the association participated in crafting the statement.

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