Friday, December 4, 2009

Indianapolis Times Reveals Prosecutor Brizzi Was Chairman of Campaign Committee of Judge Who Presided Over Hamilton Avenue Killer's Trial

CORRECTION: Sorry didn't get this up earlier, but only learned late this afternoon that Terry Burns' information on Indianapolis Times blog wasn't quite accurate. Brizzi stopped appearing on campaign finance reports as chairman for Judge Altice around 2000. Still not good, but a heck of a lot better than if he recently was chairman of Judge Altice's committee. Ogden on Politics apologizes for the error. Apparently not everything on the internet is 100% true. Who knew?

The Indianapolis Times this morning reports:

-- In examining some campaign organization forms, it was interesting to discover that embattled Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi is listed as the campaign chairman for GOP Superior Court Judge Robert Altice. Brizzi apparently has
served as Altice's campaign chairman since 1999. Wasn't Altice the same judge who presided over the bench trial of convicted Hamilton Avenue killer Desmond Turner? And who was the high-profile prosecutor involved in that case? You guessed it, Carl Brizzi.

"Interesting?" I'm not sure that Terry Burns knows what a huge bombshell he has uncovered. If Judge Altice and/or Prosecutor Brizzi did not disclose this relationship to defense counsel, especially while defense counsel and the defendant were debating going with the jury or a bench trial, I think the Indiana Supreme Court is going to reverse the decision and order a new trial. Chief Justice Randall Shepherd is already on record as saying how much he dislikes the partisan election system for judges and how it interferes with the fair administration of justice. He particularly dislikes
the set up in Marion County where the party leaders have a stranglehold on
judicial nominations via slating and every candidate nominated at the primary wins the general election. This would be the perfect opportunity for the Court to make a statement by reversing the decision and giving a tongue-lashing to the judge and prosecutor.

Then again, maybe the relationship was disclosed and the defense chose to go with Judge Altice anyway. Somehow I doubt they would have chose a bench trial if they knew the closeness of the relationship between the judge and prosecutor.


M said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gary R. Welsh said...

You would have thought Terry Burns would have had the courtesy of explaining his error. After all, he is employed in the Clerk's office where the campaign finance records are maintained. Instead, he just yanked it down without explanation. People should assume that because he works in the Elections Division of the Clerk's office, he is stating correct information about what is on file there.

Paul K. Ogden said...

Gary is correct in his explanation. Brizzi apparently stopped being the chairman in 2000 or so. It's not good, but not nearly as bad if he was still the chairman.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Paul, You don't owe the apology; Terry Burns is the one who should be apologizing. He is a public employee who helps oversee the very campaign finance records he was reporting on. He is the one who did not accurately report on their content.

Anonymous said...

While this is an issue, and one more indicative of the issues facing the judicial election system we have, it is really a problem? He quit before he ran for prosecutor.

I ask this because the flip side is that many defense attorneys work on the campaigns of judges as well. I believe Jim Voyles was the head of Judge Stoner's last campaign. Is he barred from ever appearing before him? Not under the current case law about the presumption of impartiality judges enjoy, but perhaps in fact they should be.

Yet another argument for merit selection.

M Theory said...

Good accountability here. I like that.

M Theory said...

While I read Terry's blog "Indianapolis TImes", I don't fully trust it as a source because he never once has said a critical thing about his own party.

People need to be accountable to help keep their own party's water pure. That is the least owed to the people they wish to represent.