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Appeals court strikes half of Charlie White's felony convictions

Appeals court strikes half of Charlie White's felony convictions

Charlie White

Charlie White

INDIANAPOLIS | Former Secretary of State Charlie White remains a convicted felon, despite the Indiana Court of Appeals Monday vacating three of the six guilty verdicts against him.

In a 3-0 ruling, the appeals court struck one of White's perjury convictions on the grounds that lying about one's home address on a marriage license application is not a material violation of the perjury statute, so long as the applicant lives in the county.

Chief Judge Nancy Vaidik, a Porter County native, noted in her 55-page ruling that furnishing false information to a county clerk on a marriage license application is a felony, but White wasn't charged with that crime.

The court also concluded two of White's voter fraud convictions violated double jeopardy prohibitions because they were based on the same criminal actions that resulted in two of his other convictions.

The double jeopardy finding was expected after Deputy Attorney General Justin Roebel admitted at oral arguments earlier this month he would have charged White differently to avoid even the possibility of double jeopardy.

At the same time, the appeals court affirmed White is guilty of perjury for lying about his address on a voter registration form, of deliberately voting in the wrong precinct in the May 2010 Republican primary election and of theft, for continuing to receive a salary as a Fishers town councilman after forfeiting his seat by moving out of his district.

According to court documents, White falsified records and submitted erroneous forms to conceal that he moved to a new home while running for secretary of state in 2010 so as to continue receiving his $1,000 monthly councilman salary, which he needed to supplement his earnings as an attorney.

White was removed as the state's chief elections officer Feb. 4, 2012 after a Hamilton County jury found him guilty of the six felonies.

The appeals court ruling undoing three of those convictions does not alter that action.

Had the appeals court overturned all of White's convictions, he would be entitled to back pay but likely could not reclaim his office since his term as secretary of state expires Wednesday.

White, a Valparaiso University School of Law graduate, still must serve one year house arrest, the appeals court said.

His attorney, Andrea Ciobanu, said White plans to appeal the decision to the Indiana Supreme Court.

"We are pleased that the Court of Appeals vacated three of Mr. White's counts, and Mr. White fully intends to exhaust all of his remedies for a full reversal," Ciobanu said.

Assistant Attorney General Gary Secrest, representing the prosecution, said the state still is reviewing whether it also will appeal, since it already has prevailed on the case's key issues and preserved White's home detention term.

"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," Secrest said.

The Supreme Court is likely to take several months in deciding whether to hear White's appeal.


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