Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Time For Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi to Retire

Yesterday, on his blog, Indianapolis Times, Terry Burns discussed the various candidates for prosecutor from the Democratic side. Then he pondered the question everyone in local politics is asking, namely what will current Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi do?

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.


M Theory said...

The biggest smoking gun to me is that there has been no white collar prosecutions.

Come election time, I'm going to print this article and distribute copies to my neighbors and friends.

karma09 said...

There is plenty of fuel to this fire.

On morale, Brizzi's focus on personal press and electability for ANY office that may come up causes the rank and file to avoid appropriately aggressive prosecution, for fear of stepping on the toes of "friends of Carl" or otherwise drawing attention to themselves. It permeates the office, creates excessive turnover, and a corresponding weakening of skills and strategy that harms public safety across the board.

Brizzi's chief deputy is a Hamilton County resident running for Prosecutor there in 2010, immediately begging the question of whether "upper-level" decisions are being made to benefit Marion County residents, or Hamilton County election prospects. Several sycophantic deputies are simply waiting to jump back to Hamilton County, biding their time for another year or so. Sounds a lot like the Marion County GOP arrangement.

Despite being elected prosecutor for the past 6 1/2 years, Brizzi is not that far ahead of Orentlicher for actual court room appearances over that time. He's way behind other announced candidates. This would be excusable if Brizzi made up for things in other ways, like leadership or vision. But, see above. An experienced Brizzi challenger should be able to present some good Brizzi-quotes about how inexperienced Melina Kennedy was, and then turn the same against him with the tiny number of cases Brizzi has actually tried himself.

Crime itself. Is Marion County a safe place to be? Assaults on trails, rapes in downtown office building bathrooms over the lunch hour, 8 year olds getting killed by repeat felons with known domestic violence tendencies. One can try to excuse things away, but it merely adds up to lame excuses. Surely the 13th largest city in the country can do better than it is now.

Anonymous said...

I expect Brizzi to be elevated to higher office very quickly after he vacates his current position. He's demonstrated an incredible acumen for enabling corruption and criminal activity, proving himself a perfect tool to be manipulated and controlled by influential folks who need good puppets to carry out their wishes.

Just watch. Brizzi will be promoted to higher political office despite his complete and utter disdain for the rule of law. It's either that, or someone already has good evidence of Brizzi's past skeletons, making him a useful puppet.

rose411 said...

Indiana government at its best...I am appalled that the prosecutor is ignoring forged Deeds. I am curious as to who is creating these deeds; is it, a law firm, mortgage company or an individual?

I recently lost my home in Hancock superior court where an Indianapolis law firm counterfeited a Promissory Note. The crooked Judge accepted this counterfeited document and awarded the so called plaintiff a judgment. I say, so called plaintiff, because they never filed a complaint in behalf of their client. I proved to the court that this instrument was not valid. The Judge refused to accept any of my motions, pleadings and affidavits, that proved my claim.

I wonder if the prosecutor would go after the law firm and mortgage company for stealing my home? Now I am fighting to keep my home from going to the Sheriff sale. I am in for the good fight with or without legal representation.

I think you should print the prosecutors oath, because he forgot what he swore to up hold.

Seeker of Justice.

I know said...

Thank you. You nailed it!

The Prosecutor's Office has a huge portfolio of mis- deeds by public officials in his lap. I know of one that was delivered to him that the staff was quoted that every time they looked into one of the complaints in the full case they turned the page and found another open door of PUBLIC CORRUPTION and they have done absolutely nothing with the case for four years!

Thank you for calling the issue out!