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Delphi murder case judge gets more time from Supreme Court to respond to allegations
Plus, final calls for early voting ahead of Nov. 7 municipal elections
Support today comes from Purdue’s Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging, presenting a free showing of “The Price of Progress: The Indiana Avenue Story” on Nov. 14 at Stewart Center’s Fowler Hall. The two-act play highlights the heritage of a downtown Indianapolis community called “The Harlem of the Midwest” for its thriving culture of Black-owned businesses, performing arts, educational influences and a jazz legacy — from bebop to hip-hop — that attracted the most renowned musicians of the 20th century. Get more details and free tickets here.
Thanks, also, to Purdue Convocations, presenting Grandmaster Flash: Celebrating 50 Years of Hip-Hop. NEW DATE: Saturday, Nov. 4. One of the early innovators of hip-hop culture, Flash will showcase his groundbreaking contributions to the genre through an audiovisual lecture/demonstration. FREE at Loeb Playhouse Nov. 4. Special thanks to Based in Lafayette for their support of this event. Standby seating available, learn more.
JUDGE GET MORE TIME FROM SUPREME COURT TO RESPOND TO COMPLAINT IN DELPHI MURDER CASE
Judge Fran Gull – challenged earlier this week over how she handled the withdrawal of Richard Allen’s initial defense team – on Friday asked the Indiana Supreme Court for extra time to prepare her response. The reason, stated in a motion filed Friday: Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita’s office declined to represent Gull in the matter, forcing the judge to find other legal counsel.
The Indiana Supreme Court on Friday granted that request, pushing a deadline for documents and responses from Nov. 9 to Nov. 16.
The Indiana Supreme Court received a petition for writs of mandamus and prohibition Monday by attorneys backing Brad Rozzi and Andrew Baldwin, who the judge removed from the case involving charges against Allen in the 2017 murders of Delphi teens Abby Williams and Libby German.
The legal move with the Supreme Court – meant to call into question the judge’s decisions – followed a flurry of back-and-forth motions last week between Gull and the defense attorneys.
Rozzi and Baldwin have been fighting to stay on the case since Gull announced to a courtroom gallery on Oct. 19 that they’d withdrawn from the case. The defense team argued that they were strong-armed by Gull, coerced in the judge’s chambers after she said she planned to read a written statement that would call out actions that added up to “gross negligence” in their work. Rozzi and Baldwin filed to remain as Allen’s lawyers by offering pro bono representation. But during a hearing in Carroll Circuit Court on Tuesday, Gull rejected that, told Rozzi and Baldwin they were off the case and proceeded with new court-appointed attorneys, William Lebrato and Robert Scremin of Fort Wayne.
The filing in Supreme followed many of the arguments made in a motion last week from Rozzi, calling for Gull to recuse herself. Gull ordered clerks to wipe that filing from Allen’s court record, because Rozzi was no longer an attorney on the case. The filing with the Indiana Supreme Court also contends that Gull unnecessarily kept public documents under wraps at various stages of the case, without adequate reason or explanation why. And when some documents were released – as they were in a massive dump of court filings in June – they came without enough defining information, forcing those following the case to sort through more than 100 inadequately labeled files to learn what was going on, the petition said.
Why the attorney general declined to represent Gull wasn’t clear in Friday’s court filing. Attempts to get an answer from the attorney general’s office wasn’t immediately successful.
For more on what happened in court Tuesday, here’s an account: “Judge: ‘Cannot … will not’ reinstate defense attorneys. Delphi murder trial pushed back.”
Speaking of Delphi, this comes from WANE-TV in Fort Wayne: William “Billy” Lebrato, Allen County’s chief public defender and one of two attorneys appointed in the past week to defend Richard Allen midway through his Delphi murder case, had some interesting things to say in a report from WANE-TV reporter Jamie Duffy. In Fort Wayne, the question was, naturally, how would the case affect the work of a public defenders office already at capacity in Allen County. Lebrato said things were under control. As for handling a Delphi case, with fellow Fort Wayne defense attorney Robert Scremin, that now won’t go to trial until October 2024? “It’s not a death penalty case or an LWOP (life without parole) case, it’s just a double homicide which we do routinely, unfortunately, here in Allen County. The only impact it will have is the travel time to another county,” Lebrato said told WANE. They walk into a case where the prosecutors contends that Allen confessed “five or six times” to the 2017 murders of Delphi teens Abby Williams and Libby German. Here’s the full story: “Allen County’s chief public defender says his office is prepared to take on Delphi killings case.”
FINAL TWO CHANCES TO VOTE EARLY
Early voting continues today and Monday ahead of the Nov. 7. Here’s where. And then, here’s what.
9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 4: West Lafayette City Hall, 222 N. Chauncey Ave.; Tippecanoe County Office Building, 20 N. Third St., Lafayette; First Church of the Nazarene, 3801 Union St., Lafayette.
8 a.m.-noon Monday, Nov. 6: Tippecanoe County Office Building, 20 N. Third St., Lafayette.
ON BALLOTS: Incumbents are noted with an asterisk. Candidate Q&As, when available, are linked to the name of the position on the ballot.
Clerk: Cindy Murray*, D.
Council District 1: Jerry Reynolds*, R.
Council District 2: Eileen Hession Weiss*, D; Mary Fisher, R.
Council District 3: Perry Brown*, D.
Council District 4: Lauren Ahlersmeyer*, D; Josiah Eller, Libertarian
Council District 5: Melissa Weast Williamson*, D.
Council District 6: Bob Downing*, D; Perry Barbee, R
Council at-large (3 seats): Kevin Klinker*, D; Nancy Nargi*, D; Steve Snyder*, D.
Mayor: Erin Easter, D.
Clerk: Sana Booker*, D.
City Judge: Lori Sabol*, D.
Council District 1: Aaron Abell, R; Laila Veidemanis, D.
Council District 2: Michelle Dennis, D.
Council District 3: Colin Lee*, D.
Council District 4: Larry Leverenz*, D.
Council District 5: Kathy Parker*, D; James Waters, R.
Council District 6: Jeff Brown*, R; Stacey Baitinger Burr, D.
Council at-large (3 seats): James Blanco*, D; Iris O’Donnell Bellisario, D; David Sanders*, D; Brian Russell, R; Patrick Flannelly, R.
West Lafayette Community School Corp.
Property tax referendum renewal question: “Shall West Lafayette Community School Corporation continue to impose increased property taxes paid to the school corporation by homeowners and businesses for eight (8) years immediately following the holding of the referendum for the purpose of retaining and attracting teachers and staff and funding academic programming and operating expenditures with the renewal of the current maximum referendum property tax rate of $0.37? The property tax increase requested in this referendum was originally approved by the voters in 2017 and if extended will increase the average property tax paid to the school corporation per year on a residence within the school corporation by 46.2% and if extended will increase the average property tax paid to the school corporation per year on a business property within the school corporation by 41.8%.”
Here's a link to a primer on the West Lafayette schools question, which would renew a property tax rate first approved in 2010 and again in 2017.
Town Council (choose five, all independent): Vickie Beavers, Marc Buhrmester*, Leah Copas, Ron Koehler*, Jen Manago*, Rocky Richards, Carla Snodgrass*, Joy Tischer
Clerk-Treasurer: Bridget Cadwallader
THIS AND THAT …
FALL BACK TONIGHT: Remember to set your clocks back tonight. Daylight saving time ends at 2 a.m. Sunday for lighter mornings and darker afternoons. Feel free to add your own commentary.
OTHER READS …
Purdue football coach didn’t hold back about accusations the Michigan has been illegally stealing signs about opposing teams’ play calls. Should make for an interesting game today when the Boilers travel to play the Wolverines. J&C reporter Sam King had this story: “Purdue football coach Ryan Walters on Michigan scandal: 'They aren't allegations.’” King also had this on a report that tracked with Michigan’s M.O. in this whole cheating investigation: “Report: Michigan staff member bought tickets to 4 Purdue football home games this season
Thanks, again, to Purdue Convocations, presenting Grandmaster Flash: Celebrating 50 Years of Hip-Hop, Saturday, Nov. 4, Loeb Playhouse. Free. Standby seating available, learn more.
Thanks, also, to Purdue’s Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging, presenting a free showing of “The Price of Progress: The Indiana Avenue Story” on Nov. 14 at Stewart Center’s Fowler Hall. Get more details and free tickets here.
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