Thursday, January 31, 2008

No Second Chance For Gary Jennings?

At last Monday's City-County Council meeting, Proposal No. 24 was introduced by Councilor Ryan Vaughn to appoint Gary Jennings as a member of the Citizens Police Complaint Board. CCC President Robert Cockrum notified Jennings, a grassroots supporter of Mayor Greg Ballard and Republican council candidates in the past election, that his appointment could not go forward because of a 14-year-old DUI conviction. Jennings asks, "Didn't Mayor Ballard say everyone deserves a second chance in defending the appointments of Olgen Williams, a convicted felon and admitted drug user, and Randall Tobias of DC Madam infamy?"

Meanwhile, the Council appears poised to appoint two Libertarians to the Board of Zoning Appeals, Brad Klopfenstein and Timothy Maguire. Klopfenstein is a lobbyist for the Indiana Licensed Beverage Association and ran unsuccessfully as a Libertarian candidate for the council in 2003. Maguire was an unsuccessful Libertarian at-large candidate in this past November's election. Some would argue that the vote Maguire won in that election cost at-large Republican candidate, Michael Hegg, what would have been his seat on the council instead of Joanne Sanders. Sanders should be the one sponsoring Maguire's appointment.

If Jennings' 1994 DWI conviction creates a conflict of interest for him in serving on the Citizens Police Complaint Board, will the Council believe that lobbyist Robert Grand should be disqualified from serving on the Capital Improvement Board because his law firm represents Simon family interests? And will the Council have to stop short of appointing Klopfenstein because of the conflicts of interest likely to arise when members of his organization come before the Board of Zoning Appeals?

Update: Jen Wagner at Accidental Mayor reminds me of my old post on one of our judicial candidates here in Marion County who drove drunk as a teen-ager and struck and killed another man.

18 comments:

D said...

Say what you will about those other positions (and I agree with you), but the last thing our city's already screwed-up police department needs is a convicted criminal in an oversight position.

Anonymous said...

If this is a disqualification, then why haven't all the judges, prosecutors and public defenders in the county's employ with DUI convictions not been released from their jobs?

Anonymous said...

A 14-year clear record, after a DUI, should stand for something.

I am assuming there were no injuries or crashes in the DUI, or there would have been more-serious charges. That would make a huge difference, if there were a crash or injuries.

If this disqualifies him, then at least one judge, John Hanley, should resign. He got a DUI last spring, didn't he?

varangianguard said...

Isn't a first offense OWI a misdemeanor in Indiana?

If so, conviction in a misdemeanor case hardly qualifies one as a criminal.

D said...

If so, conviction in a misdemeanor case hardly qualifies one as a criminal.

I don't know what dictionary you use, but mine says that a criminal is someone convicted of a crime. And OWI is a misdemeanor crime.

Anonymous said...

Give me a break!

Anonymous said...

In the Indiana Code, OWI is contained in Title 9, Motor Vehicles. Title 35 is Criminal Law and Procedure.

Eclecticvibe said...

Does anyone else see the irony of a Libertarian working as a lobbyist?

Anonymous said...

Don't Libertarians oppose zoning laws?

Anonymous said...

Ballard is such a jerk.

Anonymous said...

3:07 said: In the Indiana Code, OWI is contained in Title 9, Motor Vehicles. Title 35 is Criminal Law and Procedure.

This is true enough, but OMVWI is still a class A misdemeanor and was 14 years ago. At that time operating with a BAC of greater than .10 but less than .15 was a class C misdemeanor. Both are considered crimes. The only way OMVWI becomes a felony in Indiana is if the defendant has a prior conviction for OMVWI within the previous five year, it involved serious bodily injury, or was committed with a minor child in the vehicle (a fairly recent amendment to the statute).

What wasn't made clear was the reason WHY a prior drunk driving conviction was deemed to disqualify a person for this position. Is that based on some statute or administrative rule? Or was it just the opinion of the CCCouncil president? It wasn't that long ago this blog contained a lenghty discussion of the potential judicial candidate that had been convicted of a drunk driving causing death case as a juvenile. That didn't seem to be a problem for several people at that time. OMVWI can hardly be considered a crime of dishonesty or moral turpitude. There are several convicted drunk drivers on the police department and more than a small handful of officers have pending OMVWI cases at this current time.

Anonymous said...

a recently elected ccc has dui convictions.

Jane said...

I agree with anon 1:20 that "A 14-year clear record, after a DUI, should stand for something." Furthermore, I feel more comfortable when a police department oversight person understands the department from both the perspective of the law abiding citizen and the perspective of someone who has experienced difficulty. I like balance.

garyj said...

d--->
The Citizens Police Complaint board is not an oversight position. As far as it being a criminal offense, yes. I plead guilty, did my time, and got over it.
I have several police officers in support of this. The same officers who could be in front of the board saying they would not like to be in front of me because I would be fair, just as the system was fair with me. I got nothing more or less than other with the same cnviction.

Bart Lies said...

"a recently elected ccc has dui convictions."

PLURAL!

Someone who commits an offense and gets the message, and set their life straight, is OK in my book. If you right your wrong, that's a mark of character.

It's the ones who repeat, repeat, repeat that need to be weeded out. They have NO character.

Flipper said...

The only difference between most of us and Garyj is he got caught.

Anyone who hasn't driven a vehicle after drinking a few brews raise your hands.
Not many hands up in the audience. Hmmm
flipper

Anonymous said...

a drunk is a drunk is a drunk...

Anonymous said...

Flipper is right. There is a little bible verse about "he without sin may cast the first stone.."

GaryJ, I am sorry to hear about this, I think you really could have done a great job.

I feel bad for true ex-cons out there, why should they try to rehabilitate? This sends a clear message that you can never pay it back to society enough.