Holcomb appointee announces challenge to Marion County Prosecutor Mears

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Cyndi Carrasco

Embattled Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears now has a Republican challenger. Cyndi Carrasco, former deputy general counsel for Gov. Eric Holcomb, announced her campaign Tuesday.

“It’s not a decision that I came to lightly,” Carrasco told IBJ. “… The reality is that our community is facing a public safety crisis, and we deserve better.”

“The prosecutor is the county’s top public safety official,” Carrasco added, “and should be the one leading the way to make our city safe: setting the tone, working with stakeholders to curb the violence—working with the courts, working with law enforcement—holding violent and repeat criminals accountable, being a better advocate for our victims.”

Carrasco, who moved to Indianapolis from El Paso, Texas, in 2003, has spent her career until now with the state of Indiana. After law school, she joined Indiana’s Office of the Inspector General as a staff attorney, then was named executive director of the Ethics Commission within that office. Later, Carrasco was appointed inspector general herself, before becoming deputy general counsel for the Governor’s Office.

“I want to take all those things that I’ve learned—all of my experience, all of my skills, all of my leadership lessons—and I want to bring them home to make my community safe for my family and families across the county,” she said.

Carrasco, who knocked Mears’ relationships with law enforcement, community organizations and his own staff, said her first priority would be relationship-building.

“’I’ve heard from law enforcement across the county; I’ve talked to them,” Carrasco said. “They don’t feel that they’re supported.”

Her second priority, she said, would be to reverse what she called a “mass exodus” of prosecutorial staff. She didn’t say how many people had left the Prosecutor’s Office.

“Certainly, there’s been a shift in the philosophical approach to prosecuting crimes,” she said. “That’s my best guess as to what is driving a lot of people leaving the Prosecutor’s Office. It’s not necessarily the pay; it’s just that they can’t do the job that they love, which is [to] feel like they can, you know, be prosecutors.”

A spokesman for the Prosecutor’s Office told IBJ in an email that salaries “significantly lower than prosecutors’ offices in surrounding counties, not to mention the earning potential in the private sector,” are to blame for a longtime turnover problem, adding that the office has “not been immune to the recent staffing challenges reflected in every industry nationwide.”

Mears has also come under fire for a recent policy of not prosecuting simple possession of marijuana, and a perception of leniency on repeat offenders amid record-breaking violence. Indianapolis recorded an all-time high of 271 homicides in 2021.

But his biggest controversy has been his approach to Indiana’s red-flag law, which lets law enforcement seize weapons from people they deem dangerous, and prevents those people from buying more.

A December story in The Indianapolis Star said that “Mears and his deputies chose not to file more than 100 red flag cases that legal experts—including the judge who oversees such cases—say they were required to file.”

The red-flag controversy started last April after a 19-year-old gunman killed eight people at a FedEx facility near Indianapolis International Airport before turning his rifle on himself. A year before, the Prosecutor’s Office didn’t seek a red-flag hearing that could’ve prevented the man from buying additional weapons. After the mass shooting, Mears said the law didn’t afford prosecutors enough time to request evidence, and that he’d worried an adverse ruling would force authorities to return the weapon they’d confiscated.

“Unfortunately, the FedEx tragedy is one of the clearest examples that really demonstrates the prosecutor’s failed leadership,” Carrasco said. “The family begged for the eventual shooter to be prevented from buying weapons, and the tools were there, and the prosecutor did nothing.”

“If I were to have the honor of being elected prosecutor, I would very much focus on any preventative measure that is available to the office to prevent something like this, and I would ensure that every case is filed timely, and that I would at least be in a position to say that I’ve at least tried,” she added.

Though Carrasco emphasized a belief in addressing root causes of crime and said she was “a huge supporter and fan” of problem-solving courts, she also highlighted the role of repeat offenses in making charging decisions.

“There’s a way for us to strike a balance,” she said. “The pendulum has swung too far to the other extreme, and it was at a whole other extreme a few years back. I believe that there’s a way for us to get that pendulum back in the middle.”

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10 thoughts on “Holcomb appointee announces challenge to Marion County Prosecutor Mears

  1. Why not try to be a little bit objective in a story, at least in the first sentence you could make an effort. To start of the story by qualifying our prosecutor as “embattled” pretty much sets the tone of the whole article. But then again the IBJ is just Nate Feldman’s political platform.

    1. Stating that the Marion County Prosecutor is “embattled” is merely observing an objective fact. If you want to make the case that he should not be embattled, that he is doing a great job, and is on the right track, fine – make that case if you can. But, you’re not going to have much credibility if you can’t acknowledge reality.

  2. Be ready to battle Soro’s money. If Mears is not funded, he has excepted the philosophy. I.E. rising crime, homicide, car jacking, assault by turning the criminals out with no or low bail, not filing charges.⁰

  3. Awesome news! At 271 homicides, our city is at a tipping point. We need to be tough on crime to maintain our reputation as a beautiful and safe place to live. Cyndi is a super star and I applaud her willingness to serve Indianapolis and support her election as prosecutor.

    Group think is bad for society
    Common sense is good for society
    We must do what is right for the citizens in our community & protect them

    1. Hard to blame the prosecutor when IMPD is continuously handing them weak cases that are barely able to be prosecuted…

      Yet we just upped their budget something like 20% YoY?

  4. Carrasco would reverse Mears policy of not prosecuting low level cannabis possession cases.

    The archeological evidence out of Israel, for the shamanic use of cannabis in a 800 BCE Jewish Temple, confirming the identification of kaneh bosm as cannabis, is set on a course to cause the same sort of re-evaluation of the Bible, that Darwin’s theory of Evolution did more than a century ago. Just watch…. the evolution of consciousness and religion through the shamanic use of plants, is a real thing. Chris Bennett

    Two limestone monoliths, interpreted as altars, were found in the Judahite shrine at Tel Arad. Unidentified dark material preserved on their upper surfaces was submitted for organic residue analysis at two unrelated laboratories that used similar established extraction methods. On the smaller altar, residues of cannabinoids such as Δ9-teterahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabidiol (CBD) and cannabinol (CBN) were detected, along with an assortment of terpenes and terpenoids, suggesting that cannabis inflorescences had been burnt on it. Organic residues attributed to animal dung were also found, suggesting that the cannabis resin had been mixed with dung to enable mild heating. The larger altar contained an assemblage of indicative triterpenes such as boswellic acid and norursatriene, which derives from frankincense. The additional presence of animal fat―in related compounds such as testosterone, androstene and cholesterol―suggests that resin was mixed with it to facilitate evaporation. These well-preserved residues shed new light on the use of 8th century Arad altars and on incense offerings in Judah during the Iron Age. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/03344355.2020.1732046?fbclid=lwAR14SQ0RWyhrSWdMv34AMyOXR-WJ_Kil5pHHXdh9RyllEU_Tu3EllmSsv9M&

    “If cannabis was one of the main ingredients of the ancient anointing oil and receiving this oil is what made Jesus the Christ and his followers Christians, then persecuting those who use cannabis could be considered anti-Christ.” Chris Bennett