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Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Ind. Courts - Bailiff whose salary was the subject of a 2003 judicial mandate has resigned

"Councilors see charges as victory" is the headline to a story today by Joe Gerrety in the Lafayette Counral&Courier. Some quotes:

Tippecanoe County Council members who were the first to blink in a standoff with a judge over his overtime budget two years ago said they feel vindicated now that a former court employee has been criminally charged.

Kelly M. Davis, 30, who resigned as bailiff of Tippecanoe Superior Court 1 in January 2004, was charged Friday with nine felony counts, including corrupt business influence, theft and ghost employment. * * *

[C]ounty councilman Jeff Kemper said Judge Don Johnson bears some responsibility for the situation.

In a letter to the judge in December 2003, council members questioned whether [Judge Don Johnson] was reviewing payroll claims submitted by Davis for herself and other members of Johnson's staff.

"Maybe he trusted her too much," Kemper said. "Trusted that she wouldn't take advantage of her position, and apparently she did."

Johnson could not be reached Tuesday for comment. The judge issued a mandate in December 2003, ordering county council members to pay his claims for overtime and part-time hours worked by his staff or come to his court to explain themselves.

After the bailiff's reisgnation in January of 2004, Judge Johnson, according to the story, "asked then-part-time bailiff Oscar Gates to investigate her overtime claims." More:
Gates turned information over to Lt. Steve Kohne of the Tippecanoe County Sheriff's Department, who continued the investigation. * * *

Kemper said he hopes, if Davis is convicted of the charges, she'll be ordered to repay any money she was paid but didn't earn.

After Kohne completed his investigation, Tippecanoe County prosecutor Jerry Bean sought the appointment of a special prosecutor, citing a potential conflict of interest.

Todd Meyer, the Boone County prosecutor, was appointed special prosecutor in March 2005. Meyer had the Indiana State Police review the case before filing the charges Friday.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on October 12, 2005 01:13 PM
Posted to Indiana Courts