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Former SOS White still can't hold public office

Appeals court strikes three of six convictions; sentence unchanged

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An appeals court has thrown out three of former Secretary of State Charlie White’s six convictions in a case involving voter fraud but left in place his sentence, which prohibits him from serving in elected office.

The Republican was sentenced in 2012 after convictions on six counts that involved where he was living when he registered to vote, collected his pay as a member of the Fishers Town Council and applied for a marriage license. The felony convictions made him ineligible to serve.

But last week, the Indiana Court of Appeals said two of the convictions violated double-jeopardy principles, which the attorney general’s office had acknowledged in its arguments in the case. And the court said a perjury charge should have been dismissed because it was based on the street address White claimed on a marriage license when only his county of residence actually mattered.

The court left in place Class D felony convictions for perjury, voting in another precinct and theft.

Still, because Hamilton Superior Judge Steve Nation had ordered White’s punishments on each count to be served concurrently – meaning at the same time – his sentence remains unaffected and he is still ineligible to serve.

Nation had sentenced White to serve one year on home detention and pay a $1,000 fine for his crimes.

The court also ruled that White’s attorney – former Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi – was not ineffective.

The attorney general’s office said it was reviewing the decision and had not decided whether to appeal, in part because the sentence didn’t change.

“This defendant remains a convicted felon, he remains under a one-year sentence, he does not receive a new trial and he does not get to reclaim the office he formerly held,” said Assistant Attorney General Gary Secrest in a statement.

White had been elected in 2010. Following his convictions, then-Gov. Mitch Daniels appointed Connie Lawson to replace him. She was elected to a full term in November.

Lesley Weidenbener is editor of TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.

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