Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Leerkamp: Grand Jury Named The Wrong Defendant

Outgoing Hamilton Co. Prosecutor Sonia Leerkamp boasted of the great work a grand jury did in investigating the alleged sexual assault of two freshman members of the Carmel High School basketball team by four senior members of the team when she announced their decision to indict the four senior players for non-sexual-related charges earlier this year. One-by-one, she has allowed the defendants to plead down their charges to minor misdeameanors and avoid jail time. Today, she announces one of the defendants should have never been charged by the grand jury in the first instance because he was in a ceramics class at the time the alleged assaults occurred. That move has once again angered the victim's attorney, who has been highly critical of Leerkamp's handling of the case. From the Star's Robert Annis:

The attorney for one of the alleged victims in a Carmel High School assault case linked to four basketball players blasted the Hamilton County Prosecutor’s Office for dropping the charges.

“Sonia Leerkamp originally applauded the grand jury ... and now charges are dropped because they weren’t thorough,” said attorney Robert Turner. “How could the grand jury indict someone that wasn’t there? This investigation has been going on for a year; how do investigators miss that he wasn't there?”

Turner said he was continuing to press for a Justice Department investigation into the handling of the case, adding for the first time he was considering additional litigation against Leerkamp and her office

A fourth former Carmel High School basketball player accused in the hazing of a younger teammate won't face a plea bargain in Hamilton County like three of his teammates: Those charges against him have been dropped.

Hamilton County prosecutors filed a motion to dismiss misdemeanor battery

and criminal recklessness charges against Brandon Hoge, 19, late Tuesday.

Hoge’s attorney Jim Crum confirmed the charges — stemming from a series of alleged locker-room attacks at the high school — were dropped because Hoge was in a ceramics class at the time of the alleged attacks.

Early indications are the charges -- stemming from a series of alleged locker-room attacks at the high school -- were dropped because Hoge was in a ceramics class at the time of the alleged attacks.

“We were always surprised Brandon was associated with these charges,” Crum said. “The grand jury handed down those charges, and I don’t know the reason they did it. We’re not surprised the charges were dismissed.”


Don Sherfick said...

Unbelievable indeed.......was Hoge represented by counsel from the very beginning? What would have kept the news that Hoge simply wasn't there from coming out pretty early in the sequence?

Gary R. Welsh said...

Don, I could be wrong, but I recall one of the attorneys for the defendants claiming he wasn't present when those locker room incidents occurred. Not sure if it was Hoge. Class assignments are readily discoverable. Not sure why Leerkamp wouldn't have checked that out before allowing him to be wrongfully charged in these incidents since she boasted about how many individuals testified before the grand jury. I understand he was on the bus at the time relevant to the charges brought in Hendricks County.

artfuggins said...

In corrupt Hamilton County, money talks.