Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Letter to Mr. Witte Executive Secretary of the Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission Regarding the Missing Transcripts

July 27, 2012

G. Michael Witte
Indiana Supreme Court
Disciplinary Commission
30 S. Meridian St., Suite 850
Indianapolis, IN 46204
State of Indiana vs. Daniel P. Brewington
Case No. 15D02-1103-FD-084
Appeal Case No. 15A01-110-CR0050
Dear Mr. Witte:

On January 12, 2012, I hand-delivered a public access request to Barbara Ruwe, court reporter for Dearborn County, for all the tapes from all the hearings in the case of
State of Indiana vs. Daniel P. Brewington.

I also requested a tape of the Keith L. Jones interview detective/county commissioner Shane McHenry conducted in the Hamilton County Justice Center in Cincinnati, Ohio, that was submitted by the Prosecutor at the August 16, 2011 Bond Reduction Hearing in the foregoing case and a copy of the letter written and submitted to Judge Hill by Dan Brewington at the September 19, 2011 pre-trial hearing. Mr. Brewington's letter was released to me as was the jailhouse interview with Keith L. Jones (note - the disc was incorrectly labeled the "Eddie Jones" interview!).
On January 12, 2012, Judge Brian D. Hill signed an Order Releasing Audio
Tapes which are listed below:
a. Arraignment Hearing - March 11, 2011
b. Pre-Trial Hearing - June 17, 2011
c. Pre-Trial Hearing and Bond Reduction Hearing - July 18, 2011
d. Bond Reduction Hearing - August 16, 2011
e. Final Pre-Trial Hearing - September 19, 2011
f. Trial - October 3,4,5,6, 2011
g. Sentencing Hearing - October 24, 2011
h. CD of the Keith L. Jones interview
i. Copy of letter written by Dan Brewington and submitted into
evidence at the Final Pre-Trial hearing on September 19, 2011.
Judge Hill further ordered that if I shared the released audio tapes with anyone I may be held in contempt of court. Matthew Brewington, made similar record requests and received the identical order from Judge Hill. Judge Hill's orders were dated January 24, 2012.
On February 2, 2012 I received an Amended Order Releasing Audio Copies, signed by Judge Brian D. Hill which stated:
a. The Grand Jury Tapes would not be released because the tapes
were not part of the record
b. No recordings were made because no hearing took place on July
18, 2011.
On February 14, 2012, I hand-delivered another public records request seeking a clarification of the reason for the refusal to release the grand jury tapes, I explained the July 18, 2011 hearing did take place. Individuals who attended the hearing who were prepared to sign affidavits that they present at the July 18, 2011 hearing and the events at the hearing they witnessed. In my record request I attached all the documents that led up to the two hearings: the CCS entries that reported the setting of the hearings and motions and orders that related to the July 18, 2011 pre-trial hearing.

On Friday, February 24, 2012, Barbara Ruwe, Court Reporter for Judge Sally Blankenship, Superior Court II, called me at approximately 3:15pm, and informed me my public records request was filled and could be picked up in the Dearborn County Auditor's Office.
On Monday, February 27, 2012, I picked up the public records from the http://www.danbrewington.blogspot.com/2012/07/the-case-of-missing-transcripts_23.html
Dearborn County Auditor's office. There was a, typed page with no office identification of any kind and no signature explaining the contents in the packet and the reason other documents requested were not in the packet. The unsigned typed page reiterated that there were no transcripts for the hearings
for June 17, 2011 and July 18, 2012. The note further advised that "all grand jury proceedings areconfidential and cannot be released to anyone.  Judge Brian D. Hill had already released the Grand Jury transcripts. I made another public records request as I wanted the transcripts of the March 11, 2011 arraignment hearing involving Daniel P. Brewington. Ms. Ruwe then forwarded the public record request for the March 11, 2011 transcript to Daniel Brewington's appellate attorney. It is my
understanding the Indiana law states a public records request delivered in person, as I did with all my requests, is to be answered yes or no with explanation within 24 hours.

When Mr. Brewington's appellate attorney, Michael K. Sutherlin, contacted the Court to state that he was going to be filing signed affidavits by four individuals swearing under oath that they were at one or both hearings and describing what took place at these hearings, Ms. Ruwe miraculously found the "missing" recordings of the hearings I requested. On Tuesday, July 3, 2012 I received an email from Mr. Sutherlin that Ms. Ruwe "located" the "missing" transcripts from the June 17, 2011 and July 18, 2011 hearings. The July 18, 2011 hearing that Judge Brian Hill's Order said never took place, actually did take place and the June 17, 2011 hearing that Ms. Ruwe said only took place in the Judge's Chambers, actually did take place in open court. Both Judge Hill and Court Reporter Ruwe were adamant that these hearings did not take place or did not take place in open court. This is consistent with Judge Hill's failure to investigate Mr. Brewington's claim of constitutional violations during the
course of the trial. Judge Hill, since the discovery of the missing transcripts, contacted Mr. Sutherlin to accpt responsibility and stated he thought that he didn't come to Dearborn County for a hearing on July 18, 2011. Judge Hill failed to explain why the other transcript was "missing" or why it could not be located. As a layperson, I think that Judge Hill should have contacted the Indiana Court of Appeals and notified or reported the "missing" transcript issue to the Appellate Court and the Judge's mistake or concealment of the transcripts. The failure of Judge Hill to report the issue to the Appellate Court
required further expense to correct another matter that Judge Hill or Ms. Ruwe failed to correct through their shortcomings, indifference, negligence, or concealment of the transcripts.
Daniel Brewington's appeal of his conviction could be badly damaged by this lack of information and poor record keeping. This is a high profile case with many constitutional issues and dealings with the conduct of public officials and court officials concealing transcripts of hearings either through actual
concealment or incompetence. Mr. Brewington's appellate attorneys were able to add a section to the reply brief and submitted the "missing" transcripts and a Request for Hearing Transcripts for the two "missing" hearings. In the foregoing request the appellate attorney made it clear that Daniel Brewingt
wanted the "missing" transcripts prepared so they could be made part of the record on appeal. Mr. Sutherlin received the "missing" transcripts on Friday, July 13, 2012.
Whether it is incompetence, negligence, or intentional concealment of the transcripts, the error and ultimate arrogance of Ms. Ruwe and/or Judge Brian Hill resulted in the waiver of my son's ability to appeal some of the issues in his appeal. Some of the issues include the right to medication for a condition recognized by the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act), right to a special prosecutor, impairment of his ability to make the best argument for ineffective assistance of counsel as a result of Judge Hill's hand-picked public defender for Daniel Brewington, and to pursue his right to explanation of the charges against him. The appellate attorney made the arguments in the appellant's
reply brief but the actions of Ms. Ruwe and Judge Hill were grossly negligent at best.
I wanted to bring this to your attention to provide you with some idea of the slovenly work of the court reporter and Judge Hill. I would think a judge would make a careful review of the record prior to simply stating something does not exist without any investigation. If Judge Hill rested his opinion on the statements of Ms. Ruwe, it only provides insight into the sloppy and careless work of Ms. Ruwe that she is unable to track or otherwise maintain the audio recordings to permit defendants to obtain a completed record of his/her case for appeal.
I believe this matter requires investigation to determine who is in charge of the audio recordings of defendant's hearings, whether Dearborn County has a system in place to accurately maintain the audio recordings of court hearings, and more importantly whether a court reporter's word for the existence or lack of existence of an audio recording of a court proceeding should be relied upon
by a Judge without some investigation. Quite frankly, I view the Dearborn County justice system with suspicion based purely on my observation of the prosecutor, the court reporter, and the judges who preside in Dearborn County or were assigned to the county. It is even more alarming when there is little or no effort to supervise employees and a Judge who simply sends a letter
based on a court reporter's statement or the judge's failure to adequately investigate whether hearings were held or not held.
I believe it strains the imagination that I am required to obtain affidavits from individuals who attended a court hearing to prove a hearing was held to the Judge who conducted the hearing or the court reporter charged with maintaining the record. The court reporter is being paid to perform the task of maintaining the audio record and in this case she was either too lazy or
maintained her records in such a haphazard fashion she was unable to locate them or chose not to locate them. Further, the Judge is similarly irresponsible when he fails to investigate the CCS, or check his calendar to determine if a hearing took place, and who couldn't be bothered to make sure the appellate court had the complete record in Mr. Brewington's case.

I hope you can share my frustration with a justice system in Dearborn County
where the wheels are simply off and no one in charge seems to care.
This case is important because it represents a potential change in Indiana law, where the state is trying to criminalize political speech. It appears the concealment of the transcripts will assist the State in stripping the citizens of Indiana of their right to criticize public officials. Conveniently misplacing or denying the existence of transcripts from two hearings in the case facilitate the goal of criminalizing political speech. Of course one may think it is "unbelievable" that events such as this could occur. These "unbelievable" events did occur. What happens to other citizens whose families are not keeping the records that I maintained, and all they have to rely on are the records from the Dearborn County Superior Court II? If it wasn't for the persistence of Daniel Brewington's family, with the help of his civil rights attorney from Indianapolis, Michael K. Sutherlin and Associates, there would be no record of two hearings that took place before Judge Hill. Dearborn
Country Superior Court II, under Judge Sally Blankenship, has a legal responsibility to keep accurate court records and provide the public with records upon request.

This is a matter of gross negligence, a malicious attempt to obstruct justice, and/or an attempt to obstruct access to public records, which would be criminal activity. Conspiring to obstruct justice by denying, not only public access but the defendant's access to records, for his defense, could definitely be considered criminal activity. It should be investigated to protect other citizens of Indiana.
Thank you for your time.
Sue A. Brewington

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