Archives for November 2016
INDIANAPOLIS – John Zody, Chairman of the Indiana Democratic Party, released the following statement after Tuesday’s election results.
“While the results of yesterday’s election did not go in our favor, the Indiana Democratic Party will continue to fight to protect public education and expand early childhood education, push for a long-term infrastructure solution in our state and grow wages. We will also continue to fight hard for equality for all Hoosiers and will continue working to restore Indiana’s Hoosier Hospitality reputation.
I couldn’t be more proud of our candidates up and down the ballot who ran aggressive and professional campaigns based on issues importation to Hoosiers. I know each and every one of these individuals will continue to be advocates for our values as a Party, and as a state. On behalf of the IDP, I want to thank all of them for their hard work and dedication. In doing so, we will immediately begin focusing on the 2018 mid-term elections.”
INDIANAPOLIS – On the eve of Election Day, Tennessee Trey Hollingsworth still cannot be honest with Hoosiers about where he lives and why he ran for public office. This includes not disclosing when he first moved to Indiana, nor the real reason about why Tennessee Trey decided to run for Indiana’s Ninth District.
Reporter: “Did you move here with this race in mind? […] But that was just a few months before you entered the race, more or less.”
Tennessee Trey: “I mean, I think it was more than a few months…”
Tennessee Trey’s interview follows what was a scathing Associated Press report exposing how Trey knowingly claimed residency in multiple states across the country. In some states like Missouri, claiming false residency is a crime and could result in a felony or misdemeanor charge.
Why does this matter? Tennessee Trey specifically moved to Indiana last year to run a campaign that’s an attempt to buy Indiana’s Ninth District. Trey has used his dad’s money to carpetbag the state while refusing to release his tax returns and even name his favorite Hoosier. With a record like refusing to pay his property taxes and claiming to understand Hoosiers because he “employs them,” Tennessee Trey Hollingsworth just doesn’t have the Hoosier values that are needed to represent Indiana’s Ninth District.
And if you don’t think this kind of dishonest was left unnoticed, look no further than below.
New Albany News & Tribune: “Filings legally required Hollingsworth live in five other states”
FOX 59: “Nonetheless, the issue has dogged Hollingsworth since he entered the race, as a growing national spotlight highlights the battle between Hollingsworth and Democrat Shelli Yoder in Indiana’s ninth congressional district.”
WHAS: “Allegations swirl in final days of Indiana Congressional race”
Bloomington Herald-Times: “His comments came the same day Yoder released documents showing Hollingsworth was listed as a registered agent for a Missouri company, something that requires him to live in that state in case any entity serves legal papers against the business. That release followed an Associated Press story detailing Hollingsworth having similar situations in other states.”
WLKY: “Controversy surrounds race for Indiana’s 9th Congregational District seat”
WISH: “Shelli Yoder accused Trey Hollingsworth of committing crimes on Thursday. It’s the latest development in the contentious race for Congress in southern Indiana’s 9th District.
Republican Trey Hollingsworth is listed as the registered agent for companies in five states according to an Associated Press report that says that designation requires him to live in those states. Indiana is not one of them.
Yoder, his Democratic opponent, produced evidence of a similar problem in a sixth state. She unveiled the documents at a news conference in Greenwood.
They are from the state of Missouri and they were filed just about a year ago. They bear Hollingsworth’s signature.”
WDRB: “Documents indicate Indiana Congressional candidate required to live in five states simultaneously”
“Public records show Hollingsworth is simultaneously required to live in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Ohio, so legal papers related to his company can be served.
In two of the states, it’s a misdemeanor to file a false document.”
Indiana Public Media: “But Indiana University McKinney School of Law Vice Dean Antony Page says Hollingsworth’s company wouldn’t gain anything by listing him as the registered agent in multiple states.
“I think it’s more likely that it’s just careless and sloppy,” Page says. “What most companies would do is they would just hire a company to serve as a registered agent.”
Page says the error amounts to a misdemeanor in most states.
INDIANAPOLIS – With one day before Election Day, it’s worth noting that Hoosier families have fallen behind the rest of the nation over the last four Mike Pence-Eric Holcomb years.
Yet, Eric Holcomb continues to be “quite proud” of the last four years and an Indiana economy that has Hoosier wages falling and economic growth consistently trailing the national average. Actually, Eric Holcomb ignores these facts, and like other Statehouse Republicans, is betting on the snapshot of a jobs number for political success.
“Eric Holcomb says he is ‘quite proud’ of the last four years and an Indiana economy where Hoosiers are working more for less while our state grows much slower than everyone else,” said John Zody, chairman. “Eric Holcomb not only wants to continue with these failed economic policies, but he also won’t admit Indiana is falling behind the rest of the nation. Hoosiers deserve a governor who will be honest about the economy and not just tout a jobs number that only tells a piece of the story.”
BACKGROUND INFORMATION: INDIANA IS FALLING BEHIND THE REST OF THE NATION
- Indiana’s economy grew at 1.7%, trailing the national 2.4% average. – [Indy Star, 6.14.16]
- Per Capita Income: Indiana ranks 38th in per capita income, down from 33rd in 2004. – [NWI Times, 03.2016]
- Mike Pence signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act in a closed door ceremony [FOX 59, 3.26.15], throwing Indiana into a $250 million economic panic. – [The Advocate, 7.10.15]
- Median Incomes: Wages have dropped from $53,500 in 2000 to $46,900 in 2013. – [U.S. Census]
- Hoosiers make 86 cents for every one American dollar earned. – [Indianapolis Star, 6.1.15]
- Indiana ranks 45th in quality of life, 36th in workforce. – [CNBC, 6.2016]
- African American households earn on average $21,000 less than white households. – [Indianapolis Star, 4.11.15]
- Hispanic households make $15,000 less than white households. – [Indianapolis Star, 4.11.15]
- About two thirds of minimum wage workers in Indiana are women. – [Forbes, 7, 2015]
- Hoosier women make 75 cents for every dollar a man makes. – [AAUW, 2015]
- Mike Pence and Statehouse Republicans repealed the common construction wage laws, allowing union worker wages to go down and the expanding wage gap continues to grow in our state. – [NWI Times, 5.6.15]
INDIANAPOLIS – Hoosiers across Indiana and even the prosecutor who was a part of the 1997 Keith Cooper case now want Cooper to be pardoned by the state. Curtis Hill? He’s choosing politics ahead of updated evidence and Hoosier Common Sense by defending the conviction in a court filing this week.
In fact, Curtis Hill joins Mike Pence by siding against the near unanimous call for Keith Cooper’s justice.
“Curtis Hill is putting his politics and own special interests ahead of doing the right thing for Keith Cooper – a man who has had his life forever altered because of a wrongful conviction,” said John Zody, Chairman. “This should be a red flag to Hoosiers as it highlights Curtis Hill’s approach to the job. Much like Mike Pence, Hill will put his party ideology ahead of Hoosier Common Sense 100% of the time. We don’t need more of the same from the last four years which is why Lorenzo Arredondo is the right choice for Attorney General on Tuesday.”
Full story, including a statement by Democratic nominee Lorenzo Arredondo, is below.
Curtis Hill defends Keith Cooper conviction in court filing
Indianapolis Star // Madeline Buckley
The witnesses who testified against Keith Cooper have recanted, and the prosecutor who won Cooper’s robbery conviction has urged the governor to pardon him; but Elkhart County Prosecutor Curtis Hill defended the conviction in a court filing and a statement posted online Thursday.
“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 the prosecutor’s office opposing Cooper’s request for a new trial.
The prosecutor’s office is doubling down on the conviction that has become a statewide issue as Cooper, who served nearly a decade in prison, fights for exoneration. The statement from Hill’s office comes days before an election in which Hill is running for Indiana attorney general, and Gov. Mike Pence is waging a national campaign as Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s running mate.
“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,’ ” reads a statement from Hill. “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.”
A spokeswoman for the prosecutor’s office referred to the statement when IndyStar requested a comment from Hill.
Hill’s opponent in the race for attorney general, Lorenzo Arredondo, said in a statement that 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. ”
Cooper challenged his conviction in 2005 as the evidence against him unraveled and DNA evidence pointed to another suspect. But before the judge could rule on his request for a new trial, the Elkhart County prosecutor’s office, headed at the time by Hill, offered Cooper a deal. He could walk out of jail a free man if he gave up his bid to challenge his conviction.
Knowing his family needed him, Cooper has said, he chose freedom. But he contends the conviction still hinders his opportunities for employment and general quality of life.
Cooper’s co-defendant in the robbery case, Christopher Parish, had his conviction overturned in 2006. He was awarded a $4.9 million settlement after he sued the city of Elkhart for his wrongful conviction.
Cooper would likely not win such a lawsuit while the conviction remains on his record. But if he is successful in removing the conviction, “his chances of being successful would certainly increase,” said Fran Watson, a law professor at Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law in Indianapolis.
Cooper has pinned his hope for exoneration on the governor’s office, which has the power to pardon those who are convicted of crimes. For seven years, Cooper appealed to the office for a pardon, which would wipe away the felony conviction from his record. In 2014, he stood for a hearing before the Indiana Parole Board, which recommended that Pence pardon Cooper.
In September, Pence declined to pardon Cooper until he exhausts his options in court, effectively punting the issue to the next governor. So Cooper’s attorney, Elliot Slosar earlier this month filed a petition in Elkhart Circuit Court asking a judge for a new trial.
The case is hamstrung, though, by the deal Cooper struck with prosecutors in 2006.
That deal Cooper made is the basis of the prosecutor’s rejection of Cooper’s request for a new trial. The response argues that he forfeited his right to clear his name now.
A judge has not yet ruled on the issue.
Cooper still has a sliver of hope, come January. At the gubernatorial debate in Evansville earlier this month, all three candidates for governor, to some extent, said they would support pardoning Cooper.