Thursday, February 23, 2012

No Jail Time For Charlie White

Hamilton Co. Superior Court Judge Steven Nation sentenced former Secretary of State Charlie White to one year of home detention for the six felony convictions a jury returned against him earlier this month on vote fraud-related charged and fined him $1,000. He ordered no restitution because, well, there was nothing to repay taxpayers. This was never a case about public corruption or violating the public trust. This has been a total witch hunt from day one to turn legal acts into crimes in an effort to toss an innocent man from office. Billionaire immigrant George Soros is laughing his ass off at the success his self-financed campaign to disrupt America's democratic institutions by targeting state elections officials and to promote the misapplication of state election laws is having in Indiana, savoring the day when the United States of America lands on the ash heap of history. Look over here at nothing while we steal your elections blind state by state.

The two special prosecutors looked peeved when they spoke to reporters after the sentencing hearing that White received no jail time. It's not enough that they succeeded in causing White to lose his office for doing what voters and candidates do every day in every election in this state without consequence, consistent with our own Supreme Court's long-standing decisions allowing for a liberal determination of a person's residence for purposes of voting. White also faces disbarment because of the felony convictions and personal bankruptcy. I have confidence that the Indiana Supreme Court will eventually correct the miscarriage of justice that occurred in that Hamilton County courtroom. Charlie White is not a criminal. The problem is that by the time higher courts have settled that issue it won't matter anymore. White will be left asking where he goes to get his reputation back.

One last time, folks. No vote fraud took place here. No theft took place here. No perjury took place here. The judgment of this court is an unprecedented application of the law that should scare the hell out of every person who holds a citizen's fundamental right to liberty and political participation sacred. The only thing I've taken away from this case is how easy it is for our criminal justice system to be crooked and warped by people who have an agenda other than taking care that the laws are faithfully executed and prosecuted on the same terms to all citizens. Get on the wrong side of the wrong people and you will pay the price. I will await real justice in this case from our state's Supreme Court. If the court follows its long-standing precedents, it will find that White was legally registered to vote and should never have even faced jeopardy of office, let alone multiple felony charges. We shall see.


Diana Vice said...

Amen to all that, Gary!

varangianguard said...

The AG has the right of it, our system is based upon Law (not Justice). No matter what extenuating circumstances or lame excuses were presented by the defendant, he - broke - the - law (according to the legal system and a jury of his peers).

I have a comparable example.

I'm driving down the interstate going 77mph. Another car passes me going in excess of 85mph. A few minutes later, I come upon a State Trooper car sitting in a turnaround (the trooper who has apparently been catching up on his/her paperwork). But, at the moment I drive by the trooper glances up at the radar, sees my speed and decides to stop me.

Now, did the trooper not see the other car going 85+mph? Did the other car see the trooper early enough that the trooper missed the inevitable telltale braking motion of that car? Did that car just not slow down, yet was still missed? It doesn't matter, the trooper has stopped me.

Now, I have broken the law, so I don't really have a leg to stand on about arguing otherwise. Is it fair that the other (worse) traffic scofflaw didn't get stopped instead? No, it isn't (not to me anyways). But then, that is not our system of Law is it? So, I need to suck it up and just pay the fine, and move on.

Charlie White broke the law (aacording to a jury of his peers). He may have been singled out (even unfairly singled out), but under our system, that does not matter. Instead of whining like a little four year old, he needs to suck it up, and move on.

Frankly, I'm surprised you have spent so much effort on this. The system ain't fair. Never was, likely never will be. Live with it, or go elsewhere. I don't know whose toes Charlie White stepped on, but he should have known better. It's his judgement I question here, no one else's (save perhaps for Carl Brizzi's).

Guest said...

As you say White sould "suck it up" --Losing ones license to practice law does not fall in the suck it up category.

Mike Kole said...

Gary- Is the law in question not IC 3-14-1-13?

"IC 3-14-1-13
Filing fraudulent reports
Sec. 13. A person who knowingly files a report required by IC 3-9 that is fraudulent commits a Class D felony.
As added by P.L.5-1986, SEC.10."

All of the State's campaign forms specify at the bottom of the first page:

"A person who knowingly files a fraudulent report commits a Class D felony (IC 3-14-1-13)."

If that is the law that was in question regarding the filing of the forms, and White was tried on the basis of his intent ('knowingly files') and convicted by a jury, then I don't really see the problem as regards the application of the law.

I don't personally like ticky tack 'gotcha' laws like this. But the man was running for Secretary of State (something I myself have done, so I know exactly what 'burden' filling out the forms is), and is a lawyer besides. Shouldn't he have known better? Is that not a fair question to ask?

Gary R. Welsh said...

Indiana law clearly allowed him to declare his ex-wife's home as his residence for voting purposes. Anyone who argues otherwise is imposing an interpretation of the voter registration laws that has not been applied to date for residency purposes. I don't have to argue this point with you, Mike. I've pointed to the Supreme Court decisions upon which that opinion is formed. These prosecutors and this judge misapplied the law. Period. The state's top lawyer has said in writing to this state's Supreme Court that he was legally registered at that address. He could not have lied on those forms if he was legally registered to vote at that address as the state's Attorney General claims. It's funny that the AG's opinion means something with Lugar's residency, but the media pretends his opinion doesn't matter with respect to Charlie White.

Mike Kole said...

Well, no, you don't have to argue it with me. I cop to ignorance when it comes to legal questions. I looked at the law as found in the Indiana Code and read it. I recognize that there is case law, and that I haven't read the case law.

But that law seems very plain to me, the layman. The phrase 'knowingly files' seems pretty weighty, and I don't see in there a phrase like 'except as applies to residency'. Certainly, whenever I file one of those forms, I take the perjury and felony threats very, very seriously, and take great pains to use precision when filling out the forms.

But hey- if you are correct, White will certainly win on appeal, and then would no doubt seek reinstatement as Secretary of State. I'm just trying to understand this case, because the point you have previously made about the arbitrary nature of the application of the law is very sobering and very important.

I share your interest in the rule of law. That's why I brought up the Indiana Code section I did. That looks like the law to me. Now I have to know case law too?

Gary R. Welsh said...

He wasn't committing perjury or vote fraud if he used an address for voting purposes that the law specifically allowed him to use. The AG argues that point in its brief filed with the S.C. The perjury and vote fraud arises based upon the faulty premise that using his ex-wife's home as his registered voting address was illegal. It was not illegal so he didn't lie on any elections form. It's as simple as that.