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Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Ind. Courts - Still more on: Complaint filed against Johnson County prosecutor [Updated]

Updating this ILB post from Oct. 6th, Vic Ryckaert reports in the Indianapolis Star that a judge appointed to serve as hearing officer in a disciplinary proceeding against Cooper:

... has recommended a public reprimand for Johnson County Prosecutor Brad Cooper for criticizing another judge who set aside the death penalty against convicted murderer Michael Dean Overstreet.

Cooper made the statements to IndyStar and The Associated Press in 2014. * * *

Wayne Superior Court Judge Charles K. Todd last week recommended a reprimand for Cooper following the statements. In his ruling, Todd said the evidence showed Cooper is a "hard working, honest and ethical public servant," and noted that he has publicly apologized for the comments.

"It is difficult to imagine a case with much more by way of mitigation," Todd wrote.

The Indiana Supreme Court will make the final decision on Cooper's discipline.

Cooper's comments came in reaction to St. Joseph Superior Judge Jane Woodward Miller's ruling that Overstreet, the man convicted in the 1997 rape and murder of Kelly Eckart, was not competent to be executed.

Woodward Miller took over the case after Johnson Superior Judge Cynthia Emkes, who presided over Overstreet's trial, removed herself for health reasons.

ILB: Here is the docket in the Cooper disciplinary hearing. There is this entry:
1/24/2017 --- Hearing Officer's Findings
but no document link or summary is included, although the hearing officer report is public record, and has been made available in other high-profile disciplinary cases, such as that of Floyd Prosecutor Keith Henderson.

[Updated at 1:06 pm] The ILB has now obtained and is able to post the 17-page, Jan. 24, 2017 Hearing Officer's Report (h/t @VicRyc).

Posted by Marcia Oddi on January 31, 2017 10:23 AM
Posted to Indiana Courts