I think I share the view of many reform-minded Republicans when I say that we would like nothing more than to see Carl Brizzi retire.
Let's take the arguments for a Brizzi third term. He can raise money and is a strong candidate. Okay, that's all that I can come up with as justification for Brizzi running again. Now let me list why we desperately need changes in the Prosecutor's Office.
- No Public Corruption Prosecutions - Brizzi's office have given a green light by to public corruption by state and local elected officials by his office's complete lack of interest in any sort of prosecution for such matters. His office has repeatedly been spoon-fed information regarding local political corruption and has done absolutely nothing. The only positive to say in this regard is that Brizzi's office is even-handed. He won't go after Republicans or Democrats involved in corruption.
- No White Collar Prosecutions - Indiana is a hotbed of mortgage fraud. Yet Brizzi's office has barely touched the issue. We've given his office evidence of crooks forging deeds to sell other people's property. Brizzi's office has done nothing. Time and time again, there is simply no interest in prosecuting white collar crime. Steal a loaf of bread from a home and the Marion County Prosecutor's Office will come after you with both barrels blazing. Steal the entire home with the loaf of bread by forging a deed, and the Prosecutor's Office won't do anything.
- Politicization of Prosecutions - Over at Advance Indiana, Gary Welsh has been particularly adept at pointing out the unevenness of prosecutions that seem to be politicized. When a defendant hires a well-connected defense attorney, or a friend of Carl Brizzi, or a large contributor to his campaign, suddenly the defendant walks, or is never prosecuted, or gets a slap on the wrist. The Omnisource and recent cemetery cases are but two in a long line of examples of this. On the cemetery case, the person stole millions and received the equivalent of home detention. The other day I was in court and saw the prosecutor's office arguing for prison time for a woman who wrote a bad $20 check to Wal-Mart. (She had done it 9 years earlier also.)
- Poor Administration of Office - Brizzi's office is legendary when it comes to making extremely poor charging decisions. Then when his office realizes there is a mistake in the original charging decision, the Prosecutor's Office will leave the charges pending anyway, hoping that they can force the defendant into some sort of plea to cover up the office's original screw-up. Often they will try to drag things out beyond the 180 days to file a notice of tort claim. Most people facing charges do not want to file a notice of tort claim challenging what happened. I've actually seen prosecutors aggressively pursue defendants criminally when they have filed a notice of tort claiming indicating they might sue civilly.
- Poor Morale in Office - I don't know that I have ever talked to a Deputy Prosecutor who thought the Prosecutor's Office is well-run by Brizzi. They complain constantly about being forced to pursue prosecutions which have no basis and not being able to drop the charges on defendants who haven't been charged.
- Lack of Concern for Victims of Crime - Clearly Brizzi's Office has no interest in the victims of white collar crimes. His claim to be for the victim because they have no choice, is nothing more than a slogan. I know of several cases where his office failed to notify victims of hearings and even a post-conviction relief proceeding in which the victim was not notified even though her testimony might have kept that person in jail.
- Hostility to Gun Owners Rights - Marion County has a long line of Republican prosecutors, Steve Goldsmith, Scott Newman and now Carl Brizzi who have had a hostility to gun owner's rights. Walking the prosecutor's office you would find the walls decorated with posters from anti-gun rights groups. Unfortunately, we also have a Republican Mayor that shares that hostility to gun owners.
- Lack of Ethics - You don't leave charges hanging over someone after you know that person did not commit the crime. That's not a Republican or Democrat thing, it's a matter of ethics. Yet it is a constant them of Brizzi's office that innocent people get charged, and his office will leave those charges pending against people when they know they can't successfully prosecutor or that any successful prosecution won't be upheld on appeal.
- Lack of Ethics II - On the other end, it is also troubling that Brizzi appears to have become "pals" with many of the people who would involved directly or indirectly in any public corruption prosecution.
If winning the Prosecutor's Office in 2010 is everything, and the quality of one's performance in office doesn't matter, then Brizzi should be the choice for the Republicans for a third term. This Republican though expects more of a prosecutor than what Carl Brizzi has shown in 6 1/2 years. We can do better and need to do better than Carl Brizzi.