Thursday, April 28, 2016

Email to Indiana Public Access Counselor re: Judge Hill's Obstruction of Public Records

Below is a copy of my email to the Indiana Public Access Counselor. I wanted to provide some insight into why Judge Brian Hill is so adamant about obstructing the release of the audio record from a grand jury proceeding in which the transcripts are already public record.

April 28, 2016

Indiana Public Access Counselor,

I want to thank the Office of the Public Access Counselor for its professionalism in addressing my complaint. Unfortunately, others do not share your same level of professionalism as Judge Brian Hill has apparently decided not to comply with Advisory Opinion issued by your office. I have yet to receive a copy of an amended order directing the release of the grand jury audio in question. Hill has not provided any explanation why he has decided not to release the records per Hill's agreement with the PAC.  I included this information in a new complaint to the PAC that deals with Hill's failure to respond to my request for the entire transcription of the grand jury proceedings. The following is a link to my complaint to the PAC, dated April 27, 2016.

The delay or change of mind by Judge Hill does not come as a surprise. It was only recently I discovered the rules governing the reporting of trial court proceedings also apply to grand jury proceedings. At some point Dearborn County Superior Court II Reporter Barbara Ruwe and Dearborn County Prosecutor F. Aaron Negangard came to an agreement that Ruwe would not prepare an accurate and complete transcript of the proceeding because the transcripts are void of any procedural conversation prior to the transcripts opening with witness testimony. This of course put me at a tremendous disadvantage. The indictments in my case were void of any specific actions or dates. The prosecution informed Hill that any specifics of the State's case could be gleaned from the complete transcript of the grand jury proceeding and then the prosecution snuck in an abridged transcription of the proceedings. Any alteration of the grand jury record would have to be approved by a judge. It is unclear whether Judge McLaughlin or Judge Hill approved the secret alteration of the grand jury record. The notion that Ruwe made unauthorized changes to a grand jury record to assist the prosecution without the approval of a judge seems highly unlikely. Doing so would not only require conspiring with Prosecutor Negangard to deprive a criminal defendant of constitutionally sufficient charging information, a violation of federal civil rights laws, but it would also hinge on the assumption that neither Hill nor McLaughlin would report the criminal activity. Taking everything into account, Hill ordering Ruwe to prepare copies of the grand jury audio for public access is akin to Hill ordering Ruwe to dig Ruwe and Negangard's professional graves. The "X" factor in the scenario is whether Hill authorized the secret alterations. If Hill did approve of the unlawful modification of the grand jury record, ordering Ruwe to make the audio available to the public would be requesting Ruwe to dig a hole for Hill as well. Even if Ruwe accidently recorded only a portion of the grand jury proceedings, neither Ruwe, Negangard, nor Hill took any measures to notify Brewington so Brewington could take appropriate measures to determine what specific actions Negangard alleged to be unlawful.

I understand the PAC is not a disciplinary entity not does the PAC possess the authority to force Hill to honor Hill's own agreement to release the grand jury audio. I provided this addition information to the PAC for added perspective to why Judge Hill appears belligerently opposed to releasing an already public record. The PAC is free to add any content of this email to my April 27, 2016. If formality is required, I would gladly attach the email to an official complaint form. As this case involves the less than scrupulous actions of law enforcement and judicial officials, I also attached a cover letter to those entities listed as being copied to the complaint. The cover letter makes note of my concerns of further prosecutorial and/or judicial retaliation by Prosecutor F. Aaron Negangard and Judge Brian Hill.  A copy of the cover letter and complaint to the PAC can be found at

Thank you for your time and patience in this matter. Please feel free to contact me with any questions.


Dan Brewington

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