« Ind. Law - More on: Ag-gag bill moves to the full Senate | Main | Ind. Decisions - Transfer list for week ending February 22, 2013 [Updated] »

Monday, February 25, 2013

Ind. Gov't. - Indiana Horse Racing Commission unhappy with ALJ contract

Indiana Gaming Insight's (subscription only, quoted with permission) newsletter for the week of Feb. 25, 2013, which subscribers received last Thursday, Feb. 21st, had a front-page story reporting that "horsemen are not happy with the contract of IHRC Administrative Law Judge Kathryn Janeway Hostetter." More from the story:

[Indiana Breeder & Owner Protection, Inc. (IBOP) Vice president Jim Hartman] notes that both of Judge Hostetter’s contracts have a provision in which “The Contractor warrants that it has no current, pending or outstanding criminal, civil, or enforcement actions initiated by the State, and agrees that it will immediately notify the State of any such actions.”

However, Hartman explains, “Unless the commission has a different definition of ‘no current, pending or outstanding criminal’ actions, given her February 24, 2012 conviction for operating a vehicle while intoxicated endangering a person, she could not warrant any such thing.”

She was arrested in February 2012 in Hendricks County on charges of Operating a Vehicle While Intoxicated Endangering a Person; Following too Closely; and Speeding (School Zone) according to court records. In a case that required a special prosecutor and a special judge from another county.

Why the need for a special prosecutor and special judge? Her day job at the time. IBOP tells commissioners that she was immediately terminated from her role as a Deputy Prosecutor for Hendricks County (Ind.) upon her first arrest on February 8, 2012 [and], is not eligible for rehire. * * *

She received a one-year jail sentence with credit for two days and 363 days suspended while she served probation. She also enrolled in a treatment program at IU Health at Methodist Hospital after her arrest.

With this knowledge, and finding that she was “in full compliance with [IU Health’s] recommended treatment program” the Indiana Supreme Court on January 28, 2013 approved a “Statement of Circumstances and Conditional Agreement for Discipline” which included a Public Reprimand of Hostetter for her conduct. * * *

Unfortunately, local court records again find that on December 3, 2012, Judge Hostetter was slapped with five new charges, including a pair of class D felony charges for Operating Vehicle While Intoxicated; Prior Conviction, as well as two new class A misdemeanors: Operating A Vehicle While Intoxicated; Endangering A Person, and “Oper Veh w/ Alcohol Concentration Equivalent to .15 or More. She was also hit with two more infractions for Following too Closely and Speeding; Speed Unreasonable Under Conditions/Too Fast to Avoid Collision. A “Petition to Revoke Probation” was filed on February 12, and a criminal summons was issued.

In light of all this, IBOP’s Hartman questions the ALJ’s behavior in the high-profile matter of owner-trainer Janey Adams after a three-day hearing.

He alleges that Judge “Hostetter’s indifference was very evident. Other than not understanding that the severity of Ms. Adams’ proposed penalty was at issue, which is egregious enough, after months of being involved in the case, Mrs. Hostetter had to ask (page 591 of the transcript) if a stay had been granted Ms. Adams. Yet, Mrs. Hostetter was the ALJ who denied Ms. Adams’ petition for a stay in the first place. In my opinion, and none of this is the opinion of the IBOP Board, Mrs. Hostetter should have never been in that position.”

Hartman added that “I’m also frustrated in the fact that the Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Committee feels that operating a vehicle while intoxicated endangering a person, apparently through a school zone, meets with only a public reprimand and no suspension of a license and the State sentenced her to a one year probation. Yet, Mrs. Hostetter could somehow support a loss of a license for 10 years for mistreatment of an animal which in Indiana’s criminal code is a lesser offense than what she has committed herself.” He adds, “My guess is that the Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Committee and the State of Indiana will look differently on Mrs. Hostetter’s second arrest for operating a vehicle while intoxicated endangering a person in December, 2012.”

In a long story dated Feb. 22nd, and headed "IHRC Cuts Ties with Administrative Judge," Ron Mitchell of BloodHorse.com reported:
An administrative law judge recently charged with her second offense for driving while intoxicated within a year will no longer do work for the Indiana Horse Racing Commission.

The judge, Kathryn Janeway Hostetter, is one of three people who have been handling disciplinary cases for the IHRC. Hostetter was appointed in 2008 to a four-year term as an administrative law judge for the commission. That contract expired in early 2012 and was renewed in mid-2012. * * *

Lea Ellingwood, general counsel for the IHRC, said Feb. 22 that the commission has contacted the state Supreme Court's disciplinary commission about the second arrest and will no longer be assigning any cases to Hostetter, although she remains under contract.

"We have taken action and are contemplating additional action," Ellingwood said. "She does not have any cases pending and, for all intents and purposes, she will not be conducting any more work for the horse racing commission."

Unlike Hostetter's first arrest, she failed to inform the commission of the second offense, as required under her contract, Ellingwood said.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on February 25, 2013 11:08 AM
Posted to Indiana Courts | Indiana Government