Thursday, April 28, 2011

Judge denies White's request to halt Dems' challenge

A Marion County judge has denied Charlie White’s request to halt Democrats’ challenge to his eligibility to hold office.

The Democrats claim White wasn't legally registered to vote at the time he declared his candidacy, so he wasn't eligible to run.

White had asked the judge to delay the challenge until criminal charges pending against him in Hamilton County are resolved. He is accused of deliberately voting in the wrong precinct in the May primary and lying about his address to cover up the fact that he had moved out of the district he represented on the Fishers Town Council. He faces seven felony charges.

His attorney argued during a hearing this afternoon that if White defends himself in the civil case, he might incriminate himself in the criminal case.

But Marion Circuit Court Judge Louis Rosenberg said that there’s no guarantee White’s criminal trial will be held Aug. 8 as scheduled, so the civil challenge could be drawn out indefinitely if it hinges on the resolution of the criminal case.

“The public interest is in resolving this matter,” Rosenberg said, noting that the “uncertainty” of White’s eligibility is “impairing” the operation of his office.

James Bopp, who’s representing White in the civil challenge, said he will appeal the judge’s ruling.

White already is appealing Rosenberg’s April 7 ruling that the Democrats’ challenge is valid and should be heard by the Indiana Recount Commission, which had previously dismissed it.

White had asked that if Rosenberg denied his motion to halt the case until the conclusion of the criminal case, that he at least delay it until the Indiana Court of Appeals hears his appeal of the April 7 ruling.

White’s request to stall the case came Tuesday, just a day after Democrats asked Rosenberg to take over the case or order the commission to move faster to proceed with the complaint.

Rosenberg declined to take over the case, but he did agree to set a schedule the commission must follow for resolving the complaint.

He’s expected to issue that schedule by the end of Friday

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