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Thursday, January 12, 2012

Ind. Decisions - Supreme Court reprimands Hancock County deputy prosecutor

In In the Matter of Nancy J. Flatt-Moore, an 8-page per curiam opinion in an attorney disciplinary action, the Court writes:

We find that Respondent, Nancy J. Flatt-Moore, engaged in attorney misconduct by surrendering her prosecutorial discretion in plea negotiations entirely to the pecuniary demands of the victim of the crime. For this misconduct, we find that Respondent should receive a public reprimand. * * *

This is not to suggest that prosecutors may not allow crime victims to have substantial and meaningful input into plea agreements offered to the offenders at whose hands they suffered. But by giving Big Rivers unfettered veto power in the plea negotiations leading up to the First Plea Offer, Respondent entirely gave up her prosecutorial discretion to enter into what would otherwise be a fair and just resolution of the charges. If a prosecutor puts the conditions for resolving similar crimes entirely in the hands of the victims, defendants whose victims are unreasonable or vindictive cannot receive the same consideration as defendants whose victims are reasonable in their demands. At very least, such a practice gives the appearance that resolution of criminal charges could turn on the whims of victims rather than the equities of each case.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on January 12, 2012 04:06 PM
Posted to Ind. Sup.Ct. Decisions