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Monday, November 07, 2016

Ind. Gov't. - "Race for attorney general pits Elkhart County prosecutor against Lake County judge"

There have been a number of stories this year about the candidates for Attorney General.

This weekend, Zach Osowski of the Evansville Courier & Press has this long, worth-reading story about the northern Indiana opponents. The story goes beyond each candidate's biography and looks in depth at several issues, including the Keith Cooper pardon case:

A key difference between the two candidates recently emerged over the case of Keith Cooper. He is seeking exoneration from a robbery conviction after the witnesses who testified against him have recanted and the prosecutor who won the conviction has urged the governor to pardon him.

Cooper accepted a deal from Hill that allowed him to become a free man after 10 years in prison if he gave up his bid to challenge his conviction. But Cooper contends the conviction still hinders his opportunities for employment and general quality of life. For the past 7 years he has been seeking a pardon from the governor. In lieu of that, he has asked for a new trial.

Hill on Friday doubled down on the conviction in a case that has received statewide attention and more after Pence, who is Donald Trump's vice presidential running mate, said he would not consider a pardon until Cooper exhausts his remedies in court.

Hill is seeking to deny Cooper's recent request for a new trial.

"The conviction and sentence entered against said defendant were proper under Indiana law and the defendant's petition is completely without merit," reads a legal filing from Hill's office opposing Cooper's request for a new trial.

in a separate statement, Hill said: "Recent media reports have characterized Cooper's 1997 robbery conviction as a 'wrongful conviction' and suggest that Cooper is 'innocent' and/or has been 'exonerated,' Cooper is certainly free to proclaim his innocence. However, to date, there has been no judicial determination that he is 'innocent' or 'exonerated' regarding his 1997 conviction."

Arredondo responded with a statement of his own, saying Hill has not fulfilled his duties regarding Cooper's case.

"No innocent person should spend even a day in prison, let alone 10 years," the statement reads. "I am constrained, however, from commenting on the case because, as attorney general, I may become involved in it. My opponent has a duty, as the Elkhart County prosecutor, to see that justice is done. So far, he has failed in that pursuit."

Posted by Marcia Oddi on November 7, 2016 08:30 AM
Posted to Indiana Government