AG Curtis Hill is hiding from justice in Sigler’s plain sight

Daniel Sigler, special prosecutor photo courtesy Herald-Dispatch

Daniel Sigler, the special prosecutor appointed by Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry, announced on Tuesday why he would not be filing charges against Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill for his boorish, creepy, and yes, criminal behavior in the early morning hours of March 15, 2018.

I wish I was surprised, but I’m not.

Charges will not be filed, and the reasons given for not filing them are awful. For there to be justice, the burden will be borne by the victims to pursue on their own in a civil proceeding.  And at their own expense and risk.

Thankfully, the women appear to be filing a lawsuit, but they shouldn’t have to do that.  It would be easy to conclude that the women Hill violated at that party have already done enough.  Sigler apparently doesn’t think so.

The generic purpose for the appointment of a “special” prosecutor is to address special circumstances.  In this matter, it is the recusal of Curry from the matter due to the ongoing representation of Hill for the Marion County Prosecutor’s office in both civil and criminal matters.  This is only one reason why this is special.

In Sigler’s report, he writes that his first step in the process was to contact Indiana State Police Superintendent Doug Carter to assist in the investigation.  Carter also cited similar conflicts as Curry did, and ultimately declined to assist, citing “insurmountable difficulties” that would have been created if they investigated him as an individual while continuing to work with him in his role as attorney general.

Reasons for not holding Hill’s feet to the fire are now piling up.

The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department and Indiana Inspector General Lori Torres had already initiated investigations of their own.  Sigler relied upon those processes to provide him with the necessary evidence.

And plenty of evidence there was.

Rumors were circulating that no charges were going to be filed, so the announcement should have been a relief to Hill.  However, all of the information in Sigler’s own report, plus a searing and detailed account in the Inspector General’s report, make it clear that Hill acted inappropriately.  And we actually have laws that would indicate he acted illegally.

All of the attorneys involved here know that.

Clearly there is a strong case to be made that Hill had committed the misdemeanors of public intoxication and disorderly conduct.  The bulk of the 56 witnesses interviewed made that crystal clear.

The discussion of misdemeanor battery was raised in the special prosecutor’s report.  This charge “requires proof that one person touched another person in a rude, insolent or angry manner.”  Uh, this also clearly occurred.  Like it or not Mr. Sigler, it did.  I did not read in either the IG report or the special prosecutor’s report that the groping was “angry,” but it was absolutely “rude” and “insolent.”

“In my judgement, there is little public benefit to be served” by pursuing this misdemeanor charge was part of Sigler’s conclusion.  Let me help with that one.

The government spends a fortune every day in its pursuit to serve the public interest.  It often means spending significant resources to allow an individual or a small group of individuals to pursue legal remedies for situations they believe to be wrong or unfair to them.  It is a unique feature of government, and why running government “like a business” doesn’t really ever work.  The government and its authority should never be unavailable because it just doesn’t like the cost/benefit evaluation of the predicted outcome.

The “public benefit” here is that Indiana’s top attorney should not be viewed as receiving special treatment from state government in the handling of an incident that obviously included criminal behavior on his part.  At every turn, Hill was afforded that special treatment.  From the recusals, to the video statement he submitted in substitution of an interview with police, and finally to the declination to file charges.  A declination that seems to be based on Sigler’s prediction of an outcome.  His report read like prosecuting it would be a waste of his precious time.

It took courage for these women to come forward.  And once again, the government is unnecessarily asking them for more. Indiana should be interested enough to pursue the matter on their behalf.  All four of them are taxpayers.  Both reports define their accusations as credible. What more do we need?

Sigler strained to find reasons for why he should not file charges instead of simply accepting the blatant and obvious reasons for why he should.

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Michael Leppert

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