Friday, July 16, 2010

Amended Complaint against Dearborn County Prosecutor Aaron Negangard

The following is a copy of the amended complaint against Dearborn Prosecutor Aaron Negangard that I filed with the Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission. I filed the complaint after Mr. Negangard knowingly provided me with false information pertaining to the laws governing the release of public records and then attacked and threatened me after I questioned why he gave me misleading information.

July 16, 2010

Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission

30 South Meridian Street, Suite 850

Indianapolis, IN 46204-3520

Phone (317) 232-1807

Re: Amended Complaint against Indiana Attorney Aaron Negangard

Dear Members of the Commission:

I filed a complaint with the Commission against Dearborn County Prosecutor Aaron Negangard on June 16, 2010. The complaint dealt with Mr. Negangard ordering the Dearborn County Special Crimes Unit to conduct an investigation of my written (internet) material where I publicly criticized the actions of a few professionals associated with the Southeastern Indiana Court System. Since the filing of the complaint, I believe that Mr. Negangard has conducted himself in an unethical and/or illegal manner.

On July 6, 2010, I sent a public records request (copy attached hereto) to Dearborn County Prosecutor Aaron Negangard and Dearborn County Sheriff David Lusby, requesting the information pertaining to the investigation of my writings, which began around October of 2009. At the time of my July 6th request, I did not know if the investigation was still pending. In a letter dated July 7, 2010 (copy attached hereto), Mr. Negangard denied my request for the records. Mr. Negangard’s letter stated:

Dear Mr. Brewington,

Regarding your request for public records dated July 6, 2010, it is clearly requesting investigatory records. Pursuant to Indiana Law, Investigatory records are confidential and are not to be disclosed.

I have enclosed a copy of the statue [sic] for your review.

Mr. Negangard highlighted a portion of the Indiana Code on page two of his attachment. The highlighted section reads:

[IC 5-14-3-4(b)(1)] Investigatory records of law enforcement agencies. However, certain law enforcement records must be made available for inspection and copying as provided in section 5 [IC 5-14-3-5] of this chapter.

I found Mr. Negangard’s denial to be rather disturbing because he stated, “Pursuant to Indiana Law, Investigatory records are confidential and are not to be disclosed”, however just above the section that Mr. Negangard highlighted, the Indiana Code reads:

[IC 5-14-3-4(b)] Except as otherwise provided by subsection (a), the following records shall be excepted from section 3 of this chapter at the discretion of a public agency

After reading section (b) of IC 5-14-3-4, I was concerned about Mr. Negangard’s statement because it did not appear that Indiana Law prohibited the release of Investigatory records. When I researched the matter, I came across The Indianapolis Star vs. The Trustees of Indiana University, May 2, 2003, which states:

“Section 4 [of IC 5-14-3] in turn sets forth several exceptions to the disclosure requirements of section 3. Ind. Code §5-14-3-4 (Burns Code Ed. Supp. 2002). Section 4(a) sets forth mandatory exceptions to public access, and section 4(b) sets forth exceptions which may be invoked at the discretion of the public agency.”

When I discovered that Indiana Law actually states that all Investigatory records are subjected to release at the discretion of the public agency, provided that the records do not fall under section 4(a), I addressed the issue in a letter dated July 12, 2010 that I copied to Mr. Negangard. Given the suspicious nature of the “investigation” of my public writings that criticized county officials and Mr. Negangard’s less than honest reasoning for the denial of my public record request, at 10:43:36 AM, I emailed copies of the letter to other county officials to make them aware of the situation. I wanted to alert county officials about the conduct of Mr. Negangard because if Mr. Negangard used the resources of the Dearborn County Special Crimes Unit in the course of unethical and/or illegal behavior, Dearborn County could be in jeopardy of losing state and federal grants relating to law enforcement. At 4:46 PM on July 12, 2010, Mr. Negangard sent the following email to fifteen (15) county officials [copy of Mr. Negangard’s email attached hereto]. Mr. Negangard also copied me to his threatening email. Mr. Negangard’s email states:

To all county officials:

Please be advised that Dan Brewington is currently under investigation by the Dearborn County Sheriff's department. Once he was advised of this by Judge James Humphrey who had to recuse himself from his case only recently he has attacked me or my office. I take this an effort to get me not to do my job of prosecuting those who violate the law. I assure you his efforts will not succeed. If he has violated the law then I will make every effort to prosecute him. However I will point out that this matter is still under investigation and until such time he is convicted he is presumed innocent. He is also incorrect regarding his request. He clearly asked for records pertaining to his investigation that are not to be disclosed under Indiana law. If any of you need any further information regarding this matter. Please do hesitate to contact me. [sic]

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Before Mr. Negangard’s July 12th email, I was not aware that there was still a pending investigation of me. I question why Mr. Negangard felt that it was necessary to tell (15) county officials that I am under investigation by the Dearborn County Sheriff’s Department[1]. I find it very troubling that Mr. Negangard shared the details of an ongoing investigation with Judge James D. Humphrey when he claimed that the release of Investigatory records was prohibited by Indiana Law. Rather than address the fact that he provided me with inaccurate information about the laws governing the release of public records, Mr. Negangard claimed that my letter questioning his interpretation of laws “was an effort to get [Mr. Negangard] not to do [his] job of prosecuting those who violate the law.” Not only did Mr. Negangard accuse me of trying to undermine his ability to prosecute criminals in Dearborn County, Mr. Negangard vowed to “make every effort to prosecute” me if I broke the law. It appears that Mr. Negangard and/or the Dearborn County Sheriff’s Department are conducting a perpetual investigation of my web writings in the hope that they will be able to “catch” me doing something illegal so that Mr. Negangard can “make every effort to prosecute” me.

I feel that Dearborn County Prosecutor Aaron Negangard continues to persecute me because he cannot prosecute me. I have been very outspoken about my concerns about the Dearborn County Court System and I feel I have been harassed for doing so. Mr. Negangard has waged a smear campaign against me because I questioned his judgment and has threatened me with criminal prosecution if I step out of line. Mr. Negangard has yet to explain why he told me that Indiana Law prohibits the release of Investigatory records when it clearly does not. As Mr. Negangard has admitted to speaking to at least one Dearborn County judge about the situation, I fear that I may not have a fair opportunity to request a court to compel Mr. Negangard to release the records because Mr. Negangard could have spoken to other judges about the matter as well. It is frightening to imagine the civil rights atrocities that may have been committed in Dearborn County if Prosecutor Negangard regularly engages in ex parte communications with judges about ongoing investigations before charges are filed and before matters are sent to court. A person convicted of a crime would have no way of knowing if Mr. Negangard discussed their case with a judge before there were even any charges filed. If I do file an action in a trial court, I fear I may be further attacked or retaliated against by Mr. Negangard. Mr. Negangard’s threatening email suggests that the ongoing investigation of me will only end “if” I do something wrong.

I welcome the Commission to check my criminal record as I have no history of criminal or menacing behavior. I feel I have been victimized by Mr. Negangard for exercising my First Amendment Rights to free speech. If I presented a real danger to Dearborn County citizens, why hasn’t Mr. Negangard brought charges against me during the course of the nine month investigation? Why is Aaron Negangard telling the public that I am innocent until I am convicted when he has yet to file any charges and he refuses to tell, at least me, what I may be convicted of? I am afraid that Mr. Negangard may be retaliating against me for filing the complaint and for pointing out to county officials that he was less that truthful in his denial of my public record request.

I would like to thank the Commission for their attention to this matter.


Daniel P. Brewington


Mr. F. Aaron Negangard

Dearborn County Attorney, Jack Gay

[1] I am unaware of when Prosecutor Negangard transferred the investigation from the Dearborn County Special Crimes Unit to the Dearborn County Sheriff’s Department.

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