Friday, August 05, 2016
Ind. Courts - More on "Reprimand recommended against Floyd County Prosecutor Keith Henderson over actions in David Camm case"
Updating yesterday's ILB post, which includes a link to the Hearing Officer recommendation, here is more press coverage:
- "Camm prosecutor should be punished, filing says," reported by Justin Sayers of the Louisville Courier Journal. Some quotes:
Ethics rules state that attorneys are prohibited from negotiating publicity rights arising from representation of their clients, according to the recommendation. The findings will now go before the Indiana Supreme Court, which will decide whether to accept or reject the recommendation.
"The Hearing Officer recommends that Respondent, Keith A. Henderson, receive a public reprimand to make clear to all public attorneys that they should not allow personal interests enter into their public representation," Pippen concluded in the document. The decision now rests with the state supreme court.
As the CJ earlier reported, the disciplinary commission accused Henderson of lying about the book deal, then being deceitful in seeking taxpayer funds to pay for his ethics defense.
Henderson told the CJ in 2015 that, "I don't believe there was any impropriety."
Questions about Henderson's actions arose after he won a conviction during a second trial for Camm, a former Indiana state trooper, who was accused in the fall 2000 slayings of his wife, Kimberly, and the couple's two children. Camm was finally acquitted after a third trial in fall 2013.
The disciplinary commission recounted the string of events in which Henderson's wife was contacted by a literary agent while the jury was deliberating at Camm's second trial in Warrick County.
Henderson signed an agent agreement within a month or so. But after Camm's conviction was overturned, he warned the agent that publication of a manuscript may have to be moved back while he prosecuted a third case. The prosecutor asserted in emails about the book that the reversal of the second conviction made the Camm story even more compelling.
The commission said Henderson never disqualified himself from the case and, when questions were raised about the book deal, lied by saying there was no agreement to publish a book.
The state Court of Appeals removed Henderson from the case and Special Prosecutor Stan Levco of Evansville was appointed. Still, the ethics grievance filed with the disciplinary commission continued. In May 2011, according to Floyd County records, the law firm Frost, Brown Todd in Indianapolis billed Henderson $27,539 for handling the grievance — invoices which he turned over to the county for payment.
- "Hearing officer recommends 'reprimand' for Floyd County prosecutor," reported by Elizabeth DePompei of the New Albany News & Tribune. Some quotes:
Sometime in 2008, Henderson started working with a co-author to write a book proposal. In June 2009, Henderson signed an agreement with Berkley Publishing Group granting it the rights to publish the proposed book. Later that month, Camm's second conviction was reversed.
Henderson again filed murder charges against Camm for a third and final trial. In December 2009, after learning of the potential book deal negotiations, Camm's attorneys filed a petition to assign a special prosecutor to represent the state. Henderson said during the disciplinary hearings that he turned to the Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council's ethics committee for advice on whether to remove himself from the third trial. Henderson said the committee agreed he should remain on the case, but in 2011, he was removed and a special prosecutor was assigned to a third Camm trial.
Henderson said last October that he returned any money he received related to the proposed book deal; all literary agreements were cancelled. On Wednesday, the hearing officer in the disciplinary case, David Pippen, filed an opinion in the matter. Pippen said cancelling the book deal "misses the point of the rules" of ethics of prosecuting attorneys.
"Once [Henderson] took action to secure his personal interest in the Camm case, his loyalty and independent judgment were subject to questions," Pippen wrote, adding that Henderson represented the State of Indiana even after he was removed from third trial.
"Once Henderson compromised his independent judgment by securing his personal interests, he irreversibly and materially limited his own ability to represent the state in the prosecution of Camm." * * *
Henderson, who was elected as prosecutor in 2002, is running for Floyd County Circuit Judge in the November general election. He's running against incumbent Judge Terrence Cody.
Posted by Marcia Oddi on August 5, 2016 08:35 AM
Posted to Indiana Courts