|Former Secretary of State Charlie White|
At trial, White's defense attorney, former Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi, chose to employ the tactic of not putting on a defense at all. That is an old defense attorney trick to send the message to the jury that the defendant considers the prosecution's case is so weak that it does not even be justify a response. It is a tactic best used when the defendant really doesn't have any exculpatory evidence to present that might sway the jury. A good example would be a criminal case where the only witness is the defendant himself and you don't want to give away the defendant's 5th Amendment right not to testify.
What is mystifying is that White did have evidence to present, boatloads of evidence in fact. The factual issue - whether White was living in the condo instead of the ex-wife's house, was addressed in a proceeding before the Election Commission, headed by three individuals, including ex-Democratic Hamilton County Judge Buddy Pylitt. Commission members first heard the all-circumstantial case presented by Democrats which were based on documents White had executed which suggested the condo was his email address. For example, White signed a benefits package when he started working at a downtown law firm in which he used the condo address as his address. He also received some mail at the condo address.
The Commission, in a unanimous vote, found the Democrats had failed to meet their burden of proof (preponderance of the evidence...a mere tipping of the scales) and decided as a matter of fact that White was living at the ex-wife's house and had yet not moved into the condo yet. On administrative appeal, Judge Louis Rosenberg accepted White had not yet moved into the condo and was living at the ex-wife's house, but said the ex-wife's house was a temporary living situation (because he was going to move into the condo) and thus the ex-wife's house couldn't qualify as a residence under Indiana law. In his ruling, Judge Rosenberg appears to have a missed another statute that deals with people with temporary living situations and which allows them to claim that temporary abode as a residence to vote.
But the living situation, as found by the Commission, would not have supported the six felony charges White was convicted of. Those charges were completely based on the fact that White was living in the condo. Yet when it came to the criminal trial, where the burden of proof was much higher for the prosecution (beyond a reasonable doubt), White didn't introduce any evidence or call any witnesses. Strange to say the least. Why abandon a strategy that had worked very well and one would have thought would have worked even better with a lay jury for which White just had to create reasonable doubt? In particular, why not call the ex-wife, Nicole, to testify? She alone could have created reasonable doubt. Since she had already testified under oath, it is unlikely she would have suddenly changed her story.
Plus, there was another option. After the prosecution restes, White's counsel could have moved for a directed verdict on the basis that the prosecution's case, even if completely true, was not enough to support the criminal charges. Although such motions are rarely granted, once the judge ruled against White, he could have then presented a case instead of relying on the jury to make the determination that the prosecution's case by itself did not support conviction beyond a reasonable doubt.
Unfortunately for White now, it is virtually impossible to get a conviction overturned based on insufficiency of the evidence. Also, the tactics employed by counsel cannot be raised in an effective assistance of counsel claim.
NOTE: My apologies for the headline. I inadvertently wrote "sex" when I meant "six" as in felony charges.
Carl's defense was weak..why not bring witnesses to defend Charlie side of the story?
You mean "six felony charges," don't you? Talk about adding insult to injury!
The decision to use Brizzi as his attorney baffles me. I realize the case is supposed to be decided on its facts, but Brizzi? Brizzi has so many questionable high-profile dealings, like his links to Tim Durham, that it makes as much sense as getting OJ Simpson for a marriage counselor.
He could have accepted a guilty plea on misdemeanor charges and resigned his office under a deal offered to him before trial. If he wasn't going to put on a defense, he should have taken the plea agreement.
Are you planning to leave that headline intact, Paul?
Poor sod. Now when you google "charlie white convicted felony," his "sex felony" conviction comes up fourth.
Voting: Do It, and Go to Jail.
Ever notice that all the best attorneys are on the state's side? Seems the side you're on is more important than how good of an attorney you are.
Shame on this state, this judge, this jury. Voting is now criminalized in Indiana.
How long until Rosenberg unstays his order? Looks like th established Republicans over there have about a week left in their careers.
Convicting on no evidence is proof that Hoosiers are scum who will gleefully put anyone in jail for mere amusement.
Indiana is a trashy police state.
Cato, do you really think that the condition of justice is better is any of the other states?
Yes, at least a few other states, chiefly out West. Hoosiers are reflexive authoritarian scum.
Did the Commission hear the Verizon phone records evidence? Those appear to be very telling, as they were approximately 6:1 from Condo:ex's house during evening hours.
When Charlie was at his ex-wife's home, he as there with his son. Is it possible he spent much less time talking on his cell phone when he was there than when he was at the condo? Also, the two residents were a relatively short distance apart. Attributing the location of the call because of the cell phone tower it bounced off of is not a certainty, particularly when the two locations in question aren't that far apart to begin with. There should have been an expert testifying for Charlie on the reliability of that evidence under these circumstances. Hell, I had a plaintiff in a small claims case that tried to get GPS tracking records for a vehicle offered as evidence and without doing any research I was able to convince the judge that the evidence was not sufficiently reliable to be allowed as proof of the vehicle's location.
Why Charlie White in the first place? There is something more going on than I think I can figure out.
Is Charlie White a "danger" to the party, or to its leaders? Hardly.
Did he do something never seen before in local politics? Hardly.
Is he too smart, or too dumb, for most other Indiana politicians' tastes? I don't think so.
Nevertheless, he was apparently singled out. I am starting to think that I am missing something about this whole deal.
Post a Comment