Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Indianapolis Star Gets Facts of Charlie White Decision Wrong; Judge Did Not Find White Was Registered to Vote in Precinct He Did Not Live In

Carrie Ritchie of the Star this morning penned an article about the upcoming (and now over) hearing on whether Marion County Judge Louis Rosenberg's decision removing Charlie White from office should be stayed pending appeal.  Here's a sentence from that article (which apparently is no longer on-line) which purports to describe the Rosenberg decision:
Marion County Judge Louis Rosenberg ruled last month that White was ineligible to run for secretary of state in 2010 because he was registered to vote in a precinct where he didn't live...
Actually Judge Rosenberg's opinion doesn't say that at all.

Secretary of State Charlie White
In the opinion, Judge Rosenberg quite properly accepted the Commission's facts as true (a judge can't reweigh the facts on judicial review).  In doing so, Judge Rosenberg recognized the facts were that White was living at his ex-wife's house and that he had not yet moved into the condo.  White had registered at his ex-wife's house.   Thus he was registered to vote in a precinct where he was living.

The relevant statute provides that one's residency place for voting is "permanent" place where one is living:

IC 3-5-2-42.5: “”Residence” means the place (1) where a person has the person’s true, fixed, and permanent home and principal establishment; and (2) to which the person has, whenever absent, the intention of returning.”

The crux of Judge Rosenberg's opinion was not that White was registered some place where he was not living, but rather that his living arrangement at the ex-wife's house was "temporary" in that it was only until he was ready to move into the condo.  Thus, Judge Rosenberg concluded White was not properly registered at his ex-wife's house. 

There are two problems with this interpretation.  First, everyone no matter what their living situation is, has a "residence."  Judge Rosenberg's decision though leaves White without any residence. He could not have legally registered at the condo because he had not yet moved in there.  He could not have legally registered at his apartment because he had long ago moved out.  The only place White could have legally registered was at his ex-wife's house where he was living and where he was registered to vote.

Second, the opinion does not address IC 3-5-5-18, which deals with the situation in which one might have only a temporary place like White was experiencing:
“Notwithstanding IC 3-5-2-42.5, an individual with a nontraditional residence whose residence is within a precinct, but is not fixed or permanent, resides in that precinct.”
That statute is meant to deal with the situation in which a person is staying someplace temporarily and has no permanent residence.  In that situation, the person's residence is deemed to be where the person is staying temporarily and the person is allowed to register at that address even though that temporary living situation is not a permanent residence.  The law allows the person to register in that precinct using that temporary address, which is exactly what Charlie White did.

I can excuse the Star for getting a legal decision wrong.  What I find inexcusable is that the newspaper refuses to report on much, much more serious acts of voter fraud and perjury committed by former Senator Evan Bayh and his wife and Senator Richard Lugar and his wife.  Evan Bayh votes using the address of a $50,000 condo he owns in Indianapolis when he has a $2.3 million home in Washington where he and his wife live and work full time.

Meanwhile Richard Lugar and his wife, Char, have been voting for decades signing documents under oath that they reside at 3200 Highwoods Court, a house on the northwest side of Indianapolis that they they sold three decades ago and haven't stepped a foot in since.  There is no statute that allows Richard Lugar, who lives in hotels when he comes back to Indiana, to get a pass on voter fraud and perjury statutes because he is a U.S. Senator.  But even if such a statute were to be invented to excuse the Senator's otherwise felonious conduct, where is the law that gives Char Lugar a pass?  She is not a U.S. Senator.

Former Washington Township School Board member and certified fraud examiner Greg Wright has filed a complaint with the Election Commission over the Lugars' voter fraud.  Has the Star even so much as reported it?  Of course not.  Reporting those facts does not fit the Star's agenda of protecting the popular and powerful while mercilessly going after unpopular people like White who do not have the ability of a Bayh or Lugar to fight back.

See also: 

Thursday, December 22, 2011, Court Finds White's Living at Ex-Wife's House Was Temporary and Thus Not His Residence; Flawed Rationale Leaves White Without a Residence

Friday, December 23, 2011, Did Court Miss Statute Dealing With "Nontraditional Residences" In Deciding White Case?


Gary R. Welsh said...

You think that's bad. In Georgia today, a judge ruled against a motion by President Obama's attorneys to dismiss a complaint filed by a citizen alleging that Obama is ineligible to appear on the Georgia ballot this year because he's not a natural born citizen as required by the U.S. Constitution. The story in a Georgia newspaper reporting on it referred to the attorney who filed the case as a "birther attorney" and claimed the complaint alleged that Obama was not a U.S. citizen. Can you imagine a plaintiff's attorney winning a personal injury case and being referred to in a news story as an "ambulance chaser attorney" or otherwise completely misrepresenting the principal claim of his client's case? Actually, I think the Star did that a couple of years ago in a high profile case in a rush to get the story to print after a late night jury verdict and had to print a correction the following day. I wrote an e-mail to the reporter calling him out on his biased and false reporting. Still waiting for a reply from him.

guy77money said...

I'm sure that Evan considers his cheap condo in Indianapolis his residence that he will once again return to live in. Right! Throw in Lugar, Coats and Bayh and we have the new royalty of Indiana! All hail the new Dukes and Earls of U.S.A! ;) Charlie's minor indiscretion doesn't hold a candle to these guys!
Hmm in a Monarchy it usually is the minor officials and lower members of the Royal family that are purged so the power can stay in the hands of the chosen few. Waiting patiently for the revolution! ;)

Marycatherine Barton said...

Excellent points, thanks to Paul, Gary, and guy.