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State’s former head of elections files legal malpractice lawsuit

A very interesting story is currently developing in the state of Indiana, where a former Secretary of State who was forced out of office due to a criminal conviction has now filed a legal malpractice lawsuit against the very attorney whose services he retained to help him remain as the top election official in the Hoosier State.

In February 2012, Charlie White went on trial in Hamilton County to face charges of voter fraud, perjury and theft after serving roughly 13 months in office. These charges all stemmed from White’s illegal use of his ex-wife’s address for his voting address while running for Secretary of State and while serving as a councilman for an Indianapolis suburb.

The jury subsequently convicted White on multiple charges, and he was sentenced to a year of home detention and removed from the office of Secretary of State.

In his legal malpractice lawsuit against his attorney — a former Marion County prosecutor — White claims that he was woefully unprepared for the difficulties of the trial, and is seeking to recover unspecified damages for both damage to his reputation and his inability to secure employment.

“[The attorney] rendered legal services that fell below the reasonable standard of criminal defense attorneys because he was ignorant of the law, criminal trial procedure and ignorant of the facts in critical phases of [White’s] case during the jury trial,” reads the complaint.

In support of his claim, White points to the fact that the attorney failed to call any witnesses during the trial and immediately rested his case once the prosecution was finished.

Curiously, the attorney has since indicated that he was anticipating the lawsuit after he refused to sign an affidavit put forth by White indicating that his mother’s terminal cancer had proved to be a distraction during the proceedings.

“[White] wanted me to say that was a huge distraction. But I don’t think that interfered with the trial, so I didn’t sign it,” said the attorney.

In addition to his legal malpractice lawsuit, White — through his new criminal defense attorney — has filed a motion to have his conviction overturned.

If you believe that an attorney’s malpractice — negligence, breach of contract, fraud — has caused you considerable damage, consider speaking with an experienced legal professional who can help you pursue the justice you deserve.

Source: The Evansville Courier & Press, “Ex-Indiana elections chief sues defense lawyer,” Tom Davies, July 31, 2013