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Judge rejects appeal from former state elections chief

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A judge has denied former Indiana Secretary of State Charlie White's request to have his conviction on voter fraud and other charges overturned and ordered White to begin serving his sentence of a year of home confinement.

Hamilton County Superior Court Judge Daniel Pfleging ruled Monday that there was no evidence to show that White's trial attorney, Carl Brizzi, shouldn't enjoy the "strong presumption of competence" and that Brizzi's trial strategy was "objectively reasonable."

Pfleging wrote that White couldn't point to a single piece of evidence or a witness that would have swayed the jury's decision, and that White hasn't presented anything during post-conviction evidentiary hearings that challenged Pfleging's "confidence in the outcome or the process which produced it."

White's current attorney, Bryan Ciyou, didn't respond to an email seeking comment Thursday. His office said he wouldn't be at work Thursday.

White was removed as secretary of state in February 2012 after being convicted of three counts of voter fraud, two counts of perjury and one count of theft. The charges stemmed from his use of his ex-wife's home in Fishers as his voting address in 2010 while serving on the Fishers Town Council and running for secretary of state.

Prosecutors said White lived in a townhouse outside his Council district with his then-fiancee, but was still receiving his Council salary and was still voting in his old precinct.

White filed a 79-page petition in March asking the court to vacate the six felony convictions, saying Brizzi provided incompetent counsel by failing to call any witnesses. White had testified in October that he thought it was "a joke" when Brizzi told him he didn't plan to call any witnesses.

Pfleging granted the state summary disposition on most of White's arguments of ineffective counsel and found that Brizzi gave an efficient cross-examination of witnesses. He also found that Brizzi did not provide ineffective counsel in deciding not to call any defense witnesses.

"There were numerous, significant testimonial problems for each of the witnesses defendant claims should have been called to testify at trial. Cumulatively, the effect of these credibility problems would have done more harm than good had these witnesses taken the stand," Pfleging wrote.

As an example, the judge cited White's wife, Michelle, saying during preparation for her trial testimony that "Charlie didn't live there," referring to his ex-wife's home in Fishers, which he used as his voting address in 2010 while serving on the Fishers Town Council and running for secretary of state.

Pfleging wrote that if Brizzi had allowed Michelle White to testify he would have been placed "in the untenable position of suborning perjury or subjecting Michelle White to a potentially damaging cross examination."

He also found that White offered nothing to support his assertion that Brizzi was ignorant of the law.

White was ordered to begin serving his home-detention sentence by Jan. 10.

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  • Thoughts
    I am personally appalled at what has happened to Charlie White, whose good name has been slaughtered and whose life and career have been ruined by what, in my opinion, does not appear to me to be any criminal act on HIS part, juxtaposed against his "star attorney" --Carl Brizzi, who slandered me, a person he has never met, spoken to or seen, on his former radio show because of what appears to me to be his anger over my small role in digging up dirt on his BFF Timmy....Carl Brizzi, the "psychic" who has yet to be, and does not appear will ever be, prosecuted for his uncanny timing on purchases of Cellstar right before Brightpoint bought them out and a boiler room stock called Red Rock Pictures--the one Dan Laikin--the brother of at-the-time-Brizzi-Bought-Cellstar-shares Brightpoint CEO and Tim Durham, his convicted felon business buddies gobbled up shares of and allegedly tried to pump....Carl Brizzi, the unlicensed realtor who took compensation for "finding" an obscure Elkhart property just in time for the state of Indiana Department of Child Services to ink a triple net 10 year lease for which Carl greatly benefited financially.....that same Carl Brizzi's word is now good with any judge any where in Indiana and that his word is taken over every single witness that stated Carl refused to let them testify, and that Carl is believed now that all these other people are lying? Does not one judge in this state stand up for an old principle called "truth and justice" any more? HELLO? Well, keep this in mind: Sooner or later the truth ALWAYS comes out. Tim Durham is not the only person we dug up dirt on. xo

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