Friday, February 13, 2009

State Inspector General David Thomas and Ethics in State Government

To follow up the post below, Governor Daniels was quoted in the AP article:

"Everyone has been trained in ethics by the inspector general, including me."
The Inspector General Governor Daniels appointed is David Thomas, former Clay County Prosecutor. I had a case that indirectly involved Thomas. My client (let's call her "Rachel') who I represented on a civil matter, was pulled over in Clay County on suspicious of drunk driving. She had not been drinking at all, but the cop found she had slurred speech. Rachel had Huntington's Disease and was taking medication. The Clay County Sheriff's Deputy allegedly told her that he would let her out of the ticket if she raised her shirt and showed her breasts. She refused. Rachel said she ended up being groped by the officer when she stepped out of the car.

Since the cop did not have a breathalyzer he had to hold her until backup arrived. Another Clay County Deputy Sheriff showed up as well as a DNR officer who had a breathalyzer. Rachel passed the test and was allowed to leave.

Rachel though was upset by what the first cop had done to her and decided she would report it. She went to the Clay County Sheriff's Office and reported the incident. But in the confusion of the arrest she mixed up the names of the two Deputy Sheriffs. It was a simple mistake.

The first officer though was a big wig in the Republican Party. He had been the leading candidate for Clay County Sheriff in the early 1990s when he was charged with official misconduct, a felony, for having sex with an inmate when he was the jailer. The Clay County Court gave him a sentence of 60 days house arrest and fined him $5. I'm not kidding about the the $5. Interestingly the person who was the judge on the Deputy Sheriff's criminal case in 1990, finished the case by acting as the prosecutor on the very same case in 1991. They do things differently in Clay County.

So Rachel reported the wrong officer to the Sheriff's Office. When she found out her mistake she immediately corrected the information. It did not matter. Prosecutor Thomas went after her with a gusto. Prosecutor Thomas filed "false informing" charges against her. When a state police report indicated that it was a simple mistake and the charges would not stick, he also dug up a nearly two year old prescription drug allegation against her and prosecuted her on that as well. Still Rachel refused to drop her allegation against the police officer.

Following depositions of police officers on the prescription drug case, Rachel found herself being followed home by cop cars. Scared she said she went to Prosecutor Thomas' office and asked for help. Instead of giving her that help, Thomas supposedly informed her that if she did not leave he would charge with something else.

Since he has taken his position as Inspector General, I have seen questionable ethics charges filed by Thomas. One employee "Rob" had long ago left state employment. Rob though decided to challenge his termination and particularly targeted the ethics of one of the supervisors, a Republican, who had been involved in his dismissal.

Thomas reacted by filing a dubious ethics charge against Rob on the claim that he drove his car 30 miles out of the way so he could fill up his state car at a gas station in which he had a tiny financial interest (and where he had an office and stored chemicals for his work.). Doing the math, the employee would have been profiting to the tune of a half a cent a mile for all of his driving. It was a ridiculous ethics charge and no doubt filed by Thomas to get leverage against Rob who was pursuing his friends over at the state agency. It was exactly the same approach Thomas had taken against Rachel where he used his office to go after the enemies of his friends.

In short, my two brushes with David Thomas reveal that his ethical compass is broken and that he has no problem abusing his position, whether as prosecutor or inspector general, to go after enemies of his friends. Thomas simply has no business whatsoever being the person in charge of enforcing the state ethics code.


Anonymous said...

Let's just admit that cops are a failed experiment and now serve only to enslave, rape, torture and kill us.

If criminals are the problem, police are the wrong answer. As long as people continue to see police as the answer to criminality, they will be permitted to exist, and abuses far worse than this will daily occur.

Patriot Paul said...

The last 2 posts deal with ethics in government. If ethics is the litmus test, we need to rid outselves of the conflicted city county council, the sugar cream pie general assembly, and many abusive government workers. time for the pitchforks.

Diana Vice said...

Is there anyone in state government who we can trust?!!

Diana Vice said...

This is why I'm glad that federal officials are regular visitors to my blog. Hopefully they're reading yours regularly too. Maybe it's time for a Blago-type investigation at our statehouse.

Patriot Paul said...

I am in 100% agreement. It's quite obvious they're not working for the average citizen.