Former secretary of state Charlie White argues to overturn voter fraud conviction

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Dec. 9, 2014)-- Charlie White, the man once elected to enforce Indiana's election laws, went before the Indiana Court of Appeals to overturn his convictions for violating those laws.

White's attorney had 26 minutes to explain to the three-judge panel why her client was misrepresented at trial, the victim of double jeopardy and not guilty of lying about where he was living while serving on the Fishers Town Council.

"There was no offer of proof of anything," said Andrea Ciobanu. "He paid his attorney a lot of money to prepare for this trial. It was supposed to be a three-week trial. He spent a lot of money on it.There was no case presented whatsoever. He was caught off guard."

White told FOX59 News that he wanted his trial attorney, former Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi, to put him on the stand to explain to the trial court that he was residing at his ex-wife's house in Fishers and therefore was not guilty of living in one precinct while voting in another.

"His only immediate kin was his son at the time this was going on," Ciobanu told the judges, arguing that under Indiana law, since White's son lived with his mother, the defendant could claim her address as his own.

The Office of the Attorney General disagreed.

"The fact that your son is living with your former wife is pretty normal when it's not your residence, so, I don't think that alone in this case is really evidence of residence," said Deputy Attorney General Justin Roebel.

"He had to be able to testify about his intent," countered Ciobanu, "and in the post-conviction relief proceedings there were multiple occasions on trying to present that intent. They were continually objected by the state. He wasn't even able to present fully what his intent was."

One judge indicated that arguments of poor legal strategy don't necessarily constitute the grounds for an appeal as the trial court made its decision based on the facts presented before the bench.

"That's not to say they've been correctly determined but they have been determined," said Judge Michale Barnes, "and, so, it's very difficult for this panel or any panel of any appellate court simple to say, 'Well, they got it all wrong. We're going back to square one here.'"

White was convicted of six class D felonies and sentenced to one year of home detention.

That sentence has been stayed pending his appeal.

Ciobanu said her client was a victim of selective prosecution.

"We look at all the prior cases, they were not criminal cases. These are civil actions."

The panel agreed to take the arguments under advisement while it considers its ruling.

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