A Hamilton County Superior Court judge has upheld the voter fraud, theft and perjury convictions of former Indiana Secretary of State Charlie White.
White was convicted in February of 2012 of misstating his home address while he served as a member of the Fishers Town Council and ran for office.
Then-Governor Mitch Daniels forced White from office after his conviction.
During three days of testimony before Judge Daniel Pfleging last summer and fall, White argued his trial attorney Carl Brizzi provided incompetent counsel, was unprepared, did not employ sound defense strategy and refused to present evidence and witnesses to support his client’s claims of innocence.
Throughout his 26-page ruling, Judge Pfleging found, “The above theories, included in the PCR (Post Conviction Relief) Petition, contain no new material facts,” and, “The Court found no genuine issue of material fact with respect to those specific ineffective assistance claims.”
The ruling goes on, “The record reflects an efficient cross-examination and there is no new evidence of material fact…to support Petitioner’s position that cross-examination was improper.”
The Court also found that in the case of one witness White wanted called but who did not testify, “this witness, had he been called, presented significant strategic and practical risk to the defendant,” and, regarding another potential witness, “The Court finds that there was little if any value to the calling of this witness at trial.”
Even the calling of White to testify in his own defense would have been problematic, ruled the judge.
“The defendant-petitioner, for example, gave multiple pre-trail statements to the press which Brizzi testified made calling White as a witness exceedingly difficult.
“Cumulatively, the effect of these credibility problems would have done more harm than good had these witnesses taken the stand.”
“(T)he defendant failed to show the witnesses and evidence produced in the PCR hearings would have altered the outcome.”
White was convicted of six Class D felonies and ordered to serve one year of home detention.
Judge Pfleging instructed White to begin serving his sentence January 10, 2014.
White’s attorney Andre Ciobanu told Fox 59 News she is considering filing a motion to stay that sentence pending an appeal to the Indiana Court of Appeals.
White said that while he hadn’t read the judge’s ruling yet, “At the end of the day this will affect everyone’s rights and the law must be applied equally to everyone affected.
“Everyone needs to know what the rules are.”
White has long argued that the laws he was convicted of violating, and the very election rules he was elected to enforce, are confusing and his violation was unintentional.
Brizzi, the former Marion County Prosecutor, told Fox 59 News that as an appeals attorney, he would believe White has some legitimate arguments to be made before the state court of appeals.
“There are some issues regarding instructions and…the jury, issues of law,” said Brizzi. “I don’t think its necessarily over. I have some issues that are ripe for appeal.”
Brizzi said he understood White’s decision to target him for incompetent counsel as the trial occurred while he was under a federal corruption investigation by the U.S Attorney.
“I certainly was an easy target several months ago,” said Brizzi who was not charged by federal authorities.