Ex-Indiana Secretary of State Seeks Post-Conviction Relief
The Indiana Court of Appeals has dismissed an appeal by ousted Secretary of State Charlie White so he can seek relief from the judge who presided over his vote fraud trial.
An order signed by Chief Appeals Court Judge Margret Robb and posted online Monday dismissed White's appeal so he can pursue post-conviction relief before Hamilton Superior Court Judge Steven Nation.
In a petition for post-conviction relief, a defendant asks the trial judge to correct errors that occurred during the trial, such as a violation of his constitutional rights. The judge, for example, might grant a new trial or impose a different sentence.
Nation presided over the trial in which White was convicted Feb. 4 of six felony counts, including using his ex-wife's address to vote and to keep his council seat in Fishers, north of Indianapolis. Indiana law bars convicted felons from holding office.
Attorney Bryan Ciyou filed a brief last week in appeals court, challenging White's convictions on charges of perjury on his marriage license application, submitting a false voter registration application and casting a fraudulent ballot.
The brief did not contest White's three other felony convictions for perjury, theft and voting in the wrong precinct.
Robb's order dismissed the appeal so that White can pursue post-conviction relief. If White isn't satisfied with Nation's ruling, he still can file an appeal — but only on the issues Ciyou raised in the dismissed appeal or any issues that might arise from the petition for post-conviction relief.
Ciyou declined comment Monday on the developments.
John Dowd, one of the special prosecutors in the case, said the state would be ready to contest the petition.
"We'll go to court and address his claims on the post-conviction (relief) whenever the court sets the hearing," Dowd said.
White, a Republican, said at the time of his conviction that the case ignored a complicated personal life in which he was trying to raise his 10-year-old son, plan a new marriage and campaign for statewide office in 2010. He said he stayed at his ex-wife's house when he wasn't campaigning and did not reside in the Fishers condo with his current wife, Michelle, until after he remarried.
However, Dowd and other prosecutors argued White listed his ex-wife's address on his voter registration form because he didn't want to give up his town council salary.
White's sentence of a year on home detention has been stayed while he appeals his convictions.