Friday, January 2, 2009

The Strong-Arming of Indianapolis City County Council Members; Time for Reform-Minded Republicans to Fight Back

A few days ago, this was one of my predictions for the New Year:

Behind-the-scenes, strong-arm tactics of the Mayor Ballard's administration on council Republicans who dare question what is happening on the 25th Floor will surface.
Well, that did not take long. I obtained a 2009 schedule of committee assignments for the City County Council. (Since when does a legislative body change committee appointments in the middle of an election cycle?) Republican At-Large Councilor Ed Coleman, who dared suggest to a reporter that the Capital Improvement Board and the Indiana Sports Corporation not operate in secrecy and be forthcoming with requested documents, a quote that was taken out of context in a subsequent news article, has been stripped of his three committee assignments.

Hmmm, let me see if I can make some sort of connection here. Robert Grand is chairman of the CIB and he is on the board of the Indiana Sports Corporation. Grand’s law firm, Barnes & Thornburg, has several clients that come before the Public Safety Committee, one of the committees Councilor Coleman was removed from. Not coincidentally, the Public Safety Committee is chaired by Ryan Vaughn, a Barnes & Thornburg attorney.

This comes on the heels of the removal of Kent Smith, a Republican at-large council member, from the Vice-President position in favor of Vaughn. I am not sure if that was because of behind-the-scenes pressure from people supposedly on behalf of the administration, but from what I have heard from several council members, any Republican who dares question any administrative initiative will be a target.

Mayor Ballard and his advisers need to be reminded that the base vote in Marion County during the last election was 40%. Demanding 100% support on every issue from Republican officeholders is a foolish proposition. The GOP is a minority party in Marion County. The only way the Republicans win is by having thoughtful councilors like Coleman who dare to have an independent mind and a willingness to express those opinions. Right now, Coleman is the Republican’s best chance to hold on to an at-large seat in 2011. It appears Republican leaders though would rather lose all the at-large seats than have someone on the council who may not agree with the Mayor's people on every issue.

Bob Grand and Joe Loftus, the Mayor’s advisors who sit in on every key meeting with the Mayor, need to step forward and give an honest account of their involvement in threatening Republican councilors and, in particular, what role they played in stripping Coleman of his committee assignments. Likewise, Marion County GOP Chairman Tom John needs to fess up to any involvement he had in the retaliation against Coleman. John is up for re-election in March. Republican party workers have the right to know if their county chairman is threatening or retaliating against Republican elected officials they helped slate and get elected. If Tom John was not involved, he needs to be demanding that Coleman receive his committee assignments back.

I have been active in this party since 1986. Since then the power of the Marion County Republican Party grassroots organization has declined steadily to the point where the Democrats now have nearly every county-wide office. If this silly strong-arm tactics continue, Republican leadership will assure that the Demcorats have all the county-wide offices after Ballard loses re-election in 2011. That decline in power has corresponded, not coincidentally, with party bosses seizing more and more power, year after year, and using ever more reprehensible means to silence anyone who might bring an independent thought to the table or dare challenge the status quo. What those leaders did behind the scenes to force Judge Miller and Judge Johnson to drop their plans to run in the primary is scandalous.

For my part, I am tired of a bunch of wannabe thugs intimidating and threatening Marion County Republicans who dare exhibit an independent mind and speak out about issues. During the upcoming weeks, I am going to begin organizing a reform Republican group that will stand up for the principles of open and honest government as well as for much needed ethics reforms, an agenda the Mayor ran on and then summarily tossed aside. The group will also stand squarely against those who believe the purpose of being involved in Indianapolis government is to enrich themselves and their friends at the expense of the taxpayers. Enough is enough. It is time for Marion County Republicans to fight to take back their party.

26 comments:

Diana Vice said...

Sounds like fun. It's enough to almost make me consider moving to Marion County. Almost, but not quite. I'll be cheering you from the sidelines.

Anonymous said...

Great post! You are right on the money! Consider this: Tom John wants to give Ryan Vaughn greater visibilty for his run for Prosecutor in 2010. He will be defeated by the way). Tom is back in the business of making kings, by tossing others aside for the next "superstar". Kent will play ball because he believes he will need TJ's support for his run against Carson.(He will be defeated as well). Also is Tom gets less than 90 percent of the PC vote, his leadership is neutered.he will be Chairman in name only.

Paul K. Ogden said...

Anon 10:12,

Interesting. First, are you serious about Ryan Vaughn as a candidate for prosecutor? Has he ever done any litigation, much less done criminal law? That looks to me like Republicans making the Melina Kennedy, who had no criminal experience.

I just don't think Ryan understands the dynamics of running in a county where the D's now have a large majority. Carrying water for Bob Grand certainly doesn't demonstrate that, in order to win, an independent candidate needs to be willing to show independence and reach out to independent-leaning voters and Democrats. He seems like he would be a strictly baseline candidate. Given his lack of experience, I'm not sure he could even get that.

I'd love Ryan Vaughn to show some independence from his boss. I just don't think he comprehends that, in order to benefit his political career short-term, he has sold out his long-term political future.

As far as the 7th District, I thought that was promised to Tom Rose. Of course Rose might have changed his mind after the 30 point shellacking Campo took. That is a position even more so than prosecutor, where a Republican needs to show independence to have even a long-shot chance of succeeding. When you sell your soul out to party leaders to get slated, it's hard to later demonstrate that independence.

burlingtonasacoach said...

Paul
I have a question. If Vaughn would happen to succeed in a bid to be prosecutor would that mean more cases going through the court system that may not be properly investigated before charges are brought against Indy taxpayers? If that happened would it result in a need for more jail space? If more jail space is needed do you suppose Indy is slated to either build another private jail or worse yet turn Marion County Jail I over to a private corporation?

I like your backbone Paul, why don’t you run for Mayor in 2011 and clean house in Marion County?

Leslie

Paul K. Ogden said...

Well, thanks Leslie. I think though it's better keeping the powder dry for awhile. I still hold out hope that this Mayor will take back his administration and change direction.

In the next few years, the Old Guard won't be able to stop the reform wing of the Republican Party. They are already chomping at the bit for a fight.

Leslie, I'm still not convinced that there is a deliberate strategy of poor charging to keep people in jail so companies like CCA can make more money. There have been a lot of complaints though about this Prosecutor's Office not properly screening cases before filing charges and then refusing to drop charges even after they realize they don't have a case. Awhile back I blogged about a former client of mine, a mentally handicapped individual, who they kept locked up for months on charges even though we had video of him across town when he supposedly the crime.

There is no doubt that the video store employee falsely fingered the poor man because she walked off with the money herself and wanted to deflect blame. But even though they had her under oath lying about my client holding her up, the Prosecutor's Office refused to file charges against her. They said they didn't have enough evidence. Yet, they had "enough evidence" to file felony robbery charges against my client SOLELY on the basis of that one lady's statement. They had not a shred of other evidence supporting the charge. Not sure why the Prosecutor's Office thought they had a good enough case against the mentally handicapped guy but not against the store employee.

Sean Shepard said...

Paul. I agree with some of your thoughts here.

I took note of your mention of Councilor Coleman in the post. Although I completely disagreed with the fireworks ban that he supported, I have appreciated his seemingly honest and transparent approach to things.

I think you make a good point about the need for Republicans to show some independence in Marion County. I voted for Ed Coleman (as well as my Libertarian friend Tim Maguire of course) and at least one other Republican for City Council in 2007 and that was after consulting with several Republican Precinct Committeemen about who was a legitimate small government/low-tax conservative and who was just in it for them, their law firm, ladder climbing or otherwise had no real principled foundations on government.

I'm also aware that a lot of more libertarian folks voted for Mayor Ballard and agree with you that they like him very much but might echo some of the same concerns you would. I know I appreciate the solid attempt at spending less, taxing less and having a transparent budget.

Anonymous said...

Tom has three intertwined goals that he will share with anyone after a few drinks (1 actually). 1-drive all conservatives out of MC politics, 2-use his chairmanship to make partner at Ice Miller (he failed in his own firm launching even after an infusion of a lucrative Lake County contract), 3rd- establish himself at the modern day Bulen. Woe to anyone who stands in his way.

Paul K. Ogden said...

Sean,

Thanks for you thoughts. Actally my impresison is that Libertarians remain Ballard's strongest supporters. I think though they are a bit overly optimistic about the the Mayor spending less, having low taxes and a more transparent budget. While I understand things are more transparent now, there are parts of the administration that are extremely secretive, such as the CIB. The CIB is an enormous spending of taxpayer money.

They Mayor had a chance to stand up for the taxpayers with regard to the RCA Dome auction in favor of the Sports Corp. He chose to side with the Sports Corp. He had a chance to stand with taxpayers in the Pan Am deal. In the last week of Peterson's term, after he had lost, he had changed a 22 year old agreement to allow the Sports Corp to sell property without paying the City $6 million as required by the Agreement.

In both those cases, Mayor Ballard had a chance to stand for taxpayers and against last minute shenanigans pulled by the Peterson people. Both times, he came out against taxpayers and took the fall for Peterson. In Pan Am, he is even using taxpayer money, i.e. City Legal, to go after the taxpayers who dared raise the issue.

Paul K. Ogden said...

Anon 3:40, Well I guess "woe" is going to me then.

These people have been standing on my head in this party for 20 plus years. I'm pretty sure that playing their little games and even offering to sell my political soul to them (which I wouldn't do anyway) won't get their foot off my head. I have nothing to lose. I figure that I might as well kick them in the nuts while I'm down here on the ground.

Sean Shepard said...

"modern day Bulen"

Doesn't anyone remember the banner at (I think) the 1980 or 1984 convention, it was even spotted on national television I believe.

"Will Rogers never met Keith Bulen"

(Will Rogers often quipped that he "never met a man he didn't like")

You bring up some interesting points regarding missed opportunities on the Ballard front, do you think any of this can be chalked up to rookie mistakes and not necessarily anything nefarious?

By the way. This article is now one of the headlines at http://www.libertyfile.com/IN (the Indiana sub-page for the site).

burlingtonasacoach said...

Paul
I remember when Ballard was running for Mayor Paul. The people I talked with In Indy had high hopes of finally getting past the Peterson years of high tax and corruption. A year has passed and many are discontent about the way the city is spending their money and the underhanded politics. I have a lot of respect for those who dare to speak out against corruption. That’s why I think you would be a very good candidate for the taxpayers in your city if you ran for mayor. Ballard has had a year to show he is committed to change but in my opinion from where I sit in the background change hasn’t happened.

I like how you speak out on my opinion of big corporation buying into city politics for financial gain. In a democracy we are both afforded an opinion as well as have the right to voice that opinion. When you speak out against my opinion of what is taking place in Marion County, I like that. It opens the topic up for debate, and with debate sometimes answers are found.

I live in the United States but up until about a year ago I didn’t even know that private incarceration facilities even existed. I was what you might call a disinterested citizen comfortable going through life dealing only with those issues that affected me. Then the PCC started receiving complaints from inmates in Marion County Jail II and my education began.

I learned that the justice system isn’t anything I thought it was. For example I’ve been to Indy and according to information I received, saw an official court file content change from one viewing to the next. Documents that never should have been in file were, and later those same documents disappeared. I saw a motion filed by a Marion County Prosecutor asking for a revocation of probation for someone who informed an IMPD officer he was going to seek a civil remedy for abuses suffered allegedly by the IMPD officer. The man who sent that letter was repeatedly arrested for DUI but not held in jail without bond until after the prosecutor filed the probation revocation motion. The prosecutor said the officer was threatened. This same man was then held in CCA for about a year in violation of his speedy trial rights and to this date has still not gone to trial in spite of approximately 30 pre-trials.

I’ve witnessed judges who refuse to recuse themselves from cases where in my opinion there is clearly a conflict of interest. Time will tell if a complaint filed with the DOJ will result in an investigation into the allegations and complaints made against the responsible judges. I’ve sat in several Marion County Court rooms and the two I remember the most is the one where the audience is warned if they fall asleep they will be arrested and the one where I witness the judge assist a police officer with his testimony who was testifying against one of our clients, when he clearly in my opinion told a falsehood about how he confirmed the identification of the man he arrested.

The PCC received complaints against Marion County public defender attorneys who allege that some of those attorneys are not doing the job the taxpayers pay them to do. Many of those complainants were held in jail without bail for months and their attorneys according to the complaints had not even requested discovery to prepare for their defense. One of our clients informed us his PD told him that he didn’t have a right to a trial by jury and that he had to accept the plea bargain offered by the prosecutor’s office. I watched in one court room as defendant after defendant was brought before the judge (who will have you arrested if you fall asleep). Case after case the judge assigned a PD who was sitting in the sidelines like someone who sits and waits for day work to the defendants. This same attorney had a law suit filed against him by one of our clients who allege that the attorney who was not our client’s attorney visited him in CCA late at night on more than one occasion to pass on messages from the afore said judge on how our client should speak and act in the court room and to encourage our client to accept the plea bargain offered by the prosecutor’s office.

To sum it up Paul, my opinion developed from a series of complaints we received against CCA, the prosecutor’s office, IMPD and the judges. Through the course of our investigations and communications with the complainants I struggle to understand why someone charged with minor crimes is held in jail without bond for months when they would be far more productive on the outside working and paying taxes. I struggle to come to terms with a judicial system that refuses to provide oversight over a group of people who are responsible to be certain that justice is served, i.e., the guilty goes to jail and the innocent is released or why a judge would stubbornly refuse to recuse himself when a conflict of interest is alleged against them. I struggle to understand a prosecutor’s office that fails to investigate evidence presented to them (a good example is your client) while keeping the accused in jail without bond or bond so high it can’t be paid. Most of all I struggle to understand why a city government would award a large sum of money to a corporation the city didn’t owe to the corporation or why a corporation that is facing law suits all over the United States for allegations that clearly violate contract agreements would get a renewal on its contract. The only answer I can come up with is everything I’ve based my opinion on happens because either someone is getting kick backs or positions of power. I’m not saying that my opinion is correct but everything I’ve turned up points to the fact that money is the biggest incentive to incarcerate large numbers of people inside facilities that are clearly only interested in making a profit, not providing humane conditions or rehabilitation.

Citizen Kane said...

Anyone that is reform-minded is marginalized in the city, state and federal governments.

City workers who point out inefficiencies, problems or conflicts of interest are, at a minimum, ostracized and/or basically told to play along or else.

Occasionally, some people pretend to listen, but they are told to back off by some unknown person higher up the food chain, as evidenced by the regurgitated bullsh*t the reformers are forced to swallow afterwards.

Anonymous said...

While you may be right about Coleman being marginized, your read on his political future is off. Coleman finished fourth in the At-Large races, behind Democrat Joanne Sanders. Many believed the reason he got across the finish line and fellow Republican Michael Hegg did not was simply Coleman's ballot position (he was first among Republicans alphabetically).

From a campaign standpoint, Coleman has not established himself in the community outside Perry Township or friendly GOP and conservative groups. He has not done much in the community as a whole despite being a county-wide elected official. He may be a well known entity on conservatoive blogs, bug the other three At-Larges are in better shape for a second term (Smith, Malone, and Sanders), even if you don;t include the added hurdle of GOP/Democrat slating.

Personnaly, Coleman really disappointed me at the last meeting when he voted to give the Marion County Township Assessors extra salary for two years even though they don't have to work. Coleman didn't vote for taxpayers on that one; he voted for political friend and crony Cathy Price (Perry Township Assessor). Coleman said in the meeting that voters didn't know what they were voting for when they got rid of township assessors. One might argue that voters also didn't realize they were getting Ed Coleman when they voted against Bart Peterson and Democrats en masse in 2007.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 9:01pm. You know not what you speak of. I watched that council meeting and know that councilor Coleman did not speak on the assesor proposal. You are quoted to say, "Coleman said in the meeting that voters didn't know what they were voting for when they got rid of township assessors" You obviously do not know what you speak of, therefore maybe you should not speak.

I am willing to place a wager that you are one of the crooks that councilor Coleman has spoke against.

Anonymous said...

http://indytwol.blogspot.com/

Following the antics on Indy's Politicos...in Ten Words Or Less

Anonymous said...

I'm tired of people bad mouthing Ed Coleman. Anonymous said Ed Coleman is a disappointment and that he doesn't do anything for the city, doesn't know what he is talking about. I don't know how many times Ed has taken phone calls and e-mails responding to constiuents. Then calling around trying to help those people or setting up meetings to get find a solution or to listen to their problems. My family has spent many dinners and evenings without him, because that is exactly what he is doing. He may not be someone big on setting proposals right now, but it is his first year, he was taking it all in and LEARNING. He is always talking to people he meets asking them what they think about what is going on in the city, and he can do for them. He has dealt with constiuents from all townships, just not Perry. And as your response about Kathy Price being a "cronnie," how about a family friend who has known me since I was 4. My husband has done a lot this year, it has just all been behind the scenes, not in the public eye.

Ed probably won't like that I did this, but I don't take kindly to anyone attacking him, and not truly knowing what he has done.

KAC

Paul K. Ogden said...

Sean 5:05:

I totally believe it is rookie mistakes. I don't for a second think there is anything nefarious on Mayor Ballard's part. The problem is that the people he's surrounded himself with don't care one whit about his best interests and do have nefarious motives, namely enriching themselves and their friends as much as they possibly can during the four years Ballard is in office.

Sean if you have a way to separate the Mayor from those who do have nefarious motives, let me know. Maybe we could have an intervention for the Mayor?

Paul K. Ogden said...

Burlington 6:13:

Unfortunately there is not a lot of oversight over what goes on in the criminal process. I know the case your speaking about, the DUI case. That guy was kept in jail for 1 1/2 years, without a trial, even though the man had filed speedy trial motions. The judge refused to step down from the case.

In that same case, the prosecutor's office is not even serving him with documents, even though he represents himself. The guy is going to hearings on motions filed by the prosecutor he has never seen.

It's a flat out reversal on appeal if the man ever gets a trial and gets convicted. I'm sure the judge and the prosecutor's office knows that. Of course, the defendant is under so much pressure to take a plea, that he may well lose his right to appeal those clearly reversible issues.

While I know that in the case the prosecutor's office was just taking advantage of a judge who clearly had let his dislike for the defendant overcome his duty to follow the law, I still wouldn't let the prosecutor's office off the hook. At some point, they ought to know that it is morally wrong to keep someone in jail for 1 1/2 years without a trial, when the man had filed a 70 day speedy trial motion.

Don't get me started on the private jails and how they spread money around to politicians to give them contracts and then look the other way while they violate their contracts and the law.

burlingtonasacoach said...

Paul
Lack of oversight is exactly how many private corporations are able to ignore the laws and get away with it. When you have private corporations dealing with criminal incarceration there is even less oversight over their business dealings and practices. It’s bad enough American taxpayers look the other way when big corporations violate civil rights laws. The typical mindset is who cares, they’re criminals, and they shouldn’t have committed the crime. Never mind that the people held in jail are merely accused of committing a crime most not convicted yet. Then I become involved with the case I mentioned in my last post and you realize that the corruption isn’t merely sitting on the corporation shoulders. You have cops who behave like thugs. Prosecutors who back the cops up even without evidence the accused committed the crime and judges who allow these cases to languish in the court system. You’re public safety people didn’t respond to the complaint The Police Complaint Center filed against IMPD officers, the Mayor didn’t see fit to respond, and the Indiana Judicial Commission covered the ass of the judge who clearly showed a dislike for this defendant, arrested his family member in open court, and allowed his court reporter and bailiffs to harass family members. When our organization doesn’t receive a response we forward the complaints to the DOJ and FBI. While I can’t say for certain the complaint filed with the FBI for this particular PCC client instigated the arrests of the IMPD officers I’d like to think it played a part. The complaint we filed listed exactly the same accusations made against the arrested officers who were arrested for corruption. After a year of being involved with your private jail I have to tell you I still have a bad taste in my mouth when I speak about your city government and its lack of oversight. While reading your blog I noticed that many of your government leaders jump in to defend or excuse their actions but none respond to the posts speaking out against their private jail. Could it be that the record speaks for itself? Did you know that during one of the quarterly profit meetings with the CCA CEO John Ferguson was asked if he had approached the Democratic and Republican candidates about CCA providing privatized medical to the American people? American taxpayers better take notice of the medical care this private company provides to its inmates and protest loud and clear should our president elect consider giving this corporate giant the contract to provide medical care to our nation’s poor. I’m still waiting to find out how Sheriff Anderson was successful in getting the city to give a quarter of million dollars to a company that doesn’t have it coming to them and that doesn’t fulfill its contract obligations. To date not one city council member has bothered to defend the squandering away of taxpayer dollars. I hope your reform committee digs into the situation and finds answers for the Indy taxpayers that are struggling to put food on their tables while their city government continues to collect tax money from their hard earned wages and giving it away to a corporation that is treating human beings worse than animals. It’s amazing that in most cities of America there are ordinances making it a crime to be cruel to animals and if convicted will often result in jail or prison time. But corporations can be cruel and mistreat human beings make a huge profit and government looks the other way. Please make me believe that pockets are not being padded with taxpayer’s money.

Diana Vice said...

I heard you on the radio today talking about this, etc... Your message is getting out. Keep up the good work. People are listening.

burlingtonasacoach said...

Diana
I’m not sure if you are responding to my post or someone else’s but here are the facts. CCA, GEO as well as the other owners of private jails and prisons pour a lot of money into the government in their efforts to win contracts to build more and more facilities. The money paid to these companies is not the government’s money, it is the taxpayers. So with taxpayer’s money the government contracts with these private facilities to incarcerate the city and state criminals. In return for the favor of awarding the contracts, government officials receive campaign contributions and other donations from the very corporations they’ve become cozy with. When problems arise, for example, denial of critical medical care, unsanitary conditions, and excessive force, law suits start winding their way into the justice system. When a settlement is reached it is taxpayer’s money that pays the settlement because the city or state gets sued right along with the corporations. Incarceration is big business, the profits are huge. A lot of companies have jumped on the band wagon to fight crime. Citi Bank, Bank of America, GE, Wal-Mart as well as many others own stocks in these private jails and prisons. Everyone but the taxpayer, who has had to tighten his belt because of the rising cost of living, benefits from putting more and more of Americans behind bars for longer periods of time. Has anyone ever wondered why all of a sudden the government is concerned about the illegal aliens in the United States? It isn’t because they are all criminals, it’s because there is money in detaining them before deporting them out of the country. ICE is according to CCA spokesman one of CCA’s biggest customers. American’s have been led to believe that these aliens are taking jobs that should be given to Americans. But no one is mentioning the fact that every state has some kind of prison industry that allows big business to use inmate labor to manufacture goods to resell to the government. Inmates in most cases are paid pennies compared to the regular Joe on the outside who may be unemployed with a family to support. So if you were a company like Dell for example who are you going to employ? The inmate or the regular Joe? I don’t believe Dell is using inmate labor anymore but the point is many businesses have jumped at the chance to produce their products at a lower cost using inmate labor. Heck they don’t need to outsource to other countries anymore. With the inmate population growing by leaps and bounds it’s only a matter of time before taxpayers will have to go to jail or prison to get a job and manufacturers will have all the cheap labor they desire.

Leslie Sourwine
The Police Complaint Center

Anonymous said...

To add to what has been said, the it's scarey the the Public Safety Director, who is on tape many times explaining he has a 'trap door' for those who get arrested so that they 'never' get out of jail and he also owns the DNA Lab.

That means hundreds of people, maybe thousands, may be locked up and phoney DNA results doctored up..this is clearly a conflict of interest. Innocent people, or republican reformers, may be executed or jailed for life by this cruel, unethical administration.

We need the Department of Justice to visit Indianapolis...

Anonymous said...

Don't shed too many tears for Kent Smith, he's content with the move and plans on using his position to bolster his mortage/loan business which is taking a beating. One hand washing the other, he learned quickly.

burlingtonasacoach said...

Anon
Are you serious? The Public Safety Director has his own DNA lab? As for his trap door there has been many innocents fall through and go to jail. We may never know for sure just how many made the trip. But you can count on this, innocent or not they are going to either be held in jail for months before going to trial or they will be forced to take a plea bargain and serve prison time for a crime they didn’t commit.
Here’s some information you maybe didn’t know. I’ve mentioned Dr. Quack back in one of my other posts. I don’t know this guy’s name but I know this he should be arrested for practicing medicine. No doctor cuts back on blood pressure medicine or ignores infections, pace makers or other communicable illness and disease. Yet this doctor who is not a doctor admitted in open court that he ordered the inmates blood pressure medicine to be discontinued for I believe the mid-day dose because they were short on staff. So some of the guys got sick and needed to see the doctor who isn’t a doctor. They were charged 15 dollars to see him, 15 dollars for the escort and 15 dollars for the medicine they should have been getting in the first place! That’s 45 dollars a visit! I’m pretty sure that’s illegal and contrary to what is stated in Corrections Corporations Contract with the city.
Can the inmates complain? Sure they can if they are able to get a grievance form and if the form makes it to the grievance officer. One of our clients was put into seg under bogus charges. While he was there he attempted one day to file a grievance. Co’s gave him a form, he filled it out and then they pushed it under the door back to him and laughed. This took place 5 times. I talked to the assistant warden the next day and according to the report we received back from our client the assistant warden went to the seg area and demanded the grievance forms. Lucky for our client the assistant warden showed up and was mad because supervisors were getting ready to issue our client another bogus write up. What you don’t know about the inmate grievance process is the inmates must first go through an informal process before they can file a formal grievance. The problem is it’s next to impossible even if you do receive a form to file your complaint to get past the informal process. That’s the way it’s set up, it’s set up to fail leaving the inmate with no recourse to resolve his complaint. So if you have an inmate that dies, or losing a leg or arm from an untreated infection he is has an uphill battle bringing a law suit against the jail. Why? Because the inmate didn’t go through the formal grievance process!
It’s a catch 22 no matter how you look at it. Sheriff Anderson was supervised by the court for quite some time for the same abuses and complaints we are receiving on Jail II. I don’t understand why we aren’t seeing some judicial intervention on the conditions and treatments at Jail II. From what we’ve been told Jail I is better than Jail II if you have to be incarcerated. I can remember only one complaint coming out against Jail I and that had to do with an inmate that had to testify against someone who was accused of murder. For some odd reason jail officials but this witness in with the accused murderer and when it came to testify the guy was terrified for his life and couldn’t do it. Still, in Jail I inmates are given soap and other personal items when they come in. If by chance they are transferred during the course of their stay to Jail II they have all those items taken away from them and are forced to do without until the buy them from the commissary.
I can go on forever on issues with the this private jail in our city but lets get back to the DNA results and Republican reformers. Go to http://www.truthinjustice.org/ or http://www.innocenceproject.org/?gclid=CLL7mZSH95cCFYwh3godQFFXDQ and find out how many innocent people have been released lately because someone cared enough to look into their cases. There are many where the DNA turned out to be faulty, tampered with or simply planted.
Leslie Sourwine
The Police Complaint Center

HOOSIERS FOR FAIR TAX said...

Paul...haven't checked in to your blog since I went on my hiatus. I love what you are doing here! I absolutely LOVE IT!

Please let me know what I can do to help. Now that I'm past the holidays, had a decent close to my year at work, bought a new car, and settled in two housemates, I will start blogging again over at HFFT.

Stay after Tom John and Ryan Vaughn, use their names (and the names of the other culprits) often and put their first and last names in your title bars, so your columns are easily searchable later when voters google their names.

IrishPoet said...

Unfortunately I've met and dealt with Ryan Vaughn on several issues and can only report that he's another corporate whore who is out only to advance his own career and the agenda of his corporate paymasters. This douchebag is nothing more than a dimwitted, overgrown frat boy who knows NOTHING about governing except for the Golden Rule, the one with the gold rules!

Fuck ALL the Repiglickers who continue to show why Indy is and always will be a third class city with substandard education, transportation, infrastructure etc. while the wealthy and powerful continue to pull the strings behind the curtain!