Tuesday, August 23, 2011

House Speaker Brian Bosma Calls On Phil Hinkle To Resign

WRTV's Norm Cox is reporting that House Speaker Brian Bosma has met with State Rep. Phil Hinkle (R-Indianapolis) and other members of his caucus to discuss the front-page expose' in the Indianapolis Star laying out in lurid detail a rendezvous between Hinkle and an 18-year-old gay hustler at a downtown JW Marriott hotel room. Bosma tells Cox his leadership wants Hinkle to resign.

"While the entire House Republican leadership team has compassion for Phil and his family, it is clear that Rep. Hinkle would best serve his constituents and our state by stepping down immediately and returning to private life," Bosma said in a statement.
Bosma claims that Hinkle's presence in the House is a "detriment to the continuing work of the Legislature."
Hinkle apparently isn't taking his leadership's advice. "Hinkle admitted that he made some mistakes but said parts of the newspaper's story are untrue," Cox reported. Hinkle told Cox he has done nothing illegal and won't resign. Hinkle also told the Star that he and his family had earlier decided he would serve through the end of this term and not seek re-election next year. That comports with my earlier reporting that Hinkle was intent on serving out the remainder of his term before retiring when he turns 65 in order to maximize his retirement benefits for twelve years of service in the General Assembly. Bosma told the Star that he would begin the process of removing Hinkle from his committee assignments if he chooses not to resign. Still no reporting from the news media on the obvious question: Why isn't IMPD investigating the case?

UPDATE: I couldn't pass up the opportunity to mention a post on the Indiana Senate Democrat's blog entitled, "Lawmakers consider changes to combat sex trafficking." Apparently, the Indiana Attorney General's office wants the legislature to move quickly to make changes to Indiana law ahead of next year's Super Bowl in February based on testimony the office gave to the Criminal Code Evaluation Commission:

The Office of Attorney General Deputies David Miller and Abby Kuzma presented to the committee information concerning human trafficking for sex. The Attorney General’s Office testified that there are some deficiencies in Indiana law which will make prosecution for aspects of the offense of human trafficking difficult. Because Indiana will be hosting the next Super Bowl, Deputy Kuzma urged the committee to act quickly to move legislation to correct the deficiencies because, as she testified, it has been shown that large events, attended mostly by men, with a party atmosphere, result in increased human trafficking for sex . . .

Deputy Kuzma suggested the following changes be made to Indiana law:

•Criminalize a person who knowingly attempts to traffick a person who is less than 18.

•Insert language that lack of knowledge that the victim was under 18 is not a defense.

•Insert language that consent from a victim who is under 18 is not a defense.

•Amend language in the current law so that any adult who attempts to traffick a person under 18 years of age may be prosecuted. Current statute prohibits “. . .parent(s), guardian(s), or custodian(s). . .” from trafficking a person less than 18.
UPDATE II: The heat on Hinkle is turned up. WISH-TV's Jim Shella reports that House Speaker Bosma has stripped Hinkle from a committee chairmanship in the House and a summer study committee chairman position. Marion Co. GOP Chairman Kyle Walker has also renewed his call for Hinkle to resign.

UPDATE III: We have an answer on the reason IMPD has launched no investigation: The Department says nobody has filed a complaint. And the Marion Co. Prosecutor's Office says it has done nothing  because IMPD has not forwarded a criminal complaint to its office. Yeah, there's nothing like the Sgt. Schultz defense: "I know nothing." Here's a clue to IMPD. When your department has credible evidence that a crime has been committed, you have authority to investigate without anyone filing a complaint. It's a practice your department carries out daily in exercising its police powers. As to Prosecutor Curry, you have someone on your staff employed as a grand jury investigator who can convene a grand jury, subpoena witnesses and execute search warrants if you want to learn whether a prosecutable crime has been committed. It's like I've said before and will say again many more times. There are two forms of justice in this county: one for the common folks and one for the privileged elite. Criminal laws are used like a hammer to clobber the little people every day, while the privileged elite can break as many criminal laws as their hearts desire because they have immunity from prosecution.


Marycatherine Barton said...

Yes. In this matter, who does IMPD and the Ma. Co. Prosecutor's Office think that they are fooling?

Paul K. Ogden said...

IMPD can investigate whatever it wants. It doesn't need a complaint.

The young man has already denied he was exchanging money for sex. (This was his third version of the story.) Hinkle denies it as well. Now I'm as skeptical as anyone about that, but when the only two witnesses to what happened are saying no crime was involved, any prosecution would fall flat. Plus, Hinkle, if
charged, wouldn't have to testify, and the entire state's case that it was sex for money would be based on what the young man testifies to and he is denying the key facts and has credibility problems.

I do not know of a single prostitution case that was ever prosecuted where a police officer wasn't part of the attempted transaction - either pretending to be the "john" or pretending to the be the prostitute. There is always a cop who is one of the witnesses at trial. Without a police officer to testify regarding the exchange of money for sex, I don't know how a prosecution is ever going to work.