The following is the introduction I included in an appellate brief I am filing with the Court of Appeals in the State of Indiana. My journey stems from a child custody evaluation for my divorce in the Indiana family court system. On August 19, 2009, Dearborn County Circuit Judge Humphrey stripped me of the ability to see my three- and five-year-old daughters claiming, “The Court is most concerned about [Brewington’s] irrational behavior toward Dr. Connor.” There were no restraining orders or police reports. No calls to social services. Nothing.
When I began criticizing Judge Humphrey, former Dearborn County Prosecutor F. Aaron Negangard, who was also the head of the Dearborn County Special Crimes unit, initiated an investigation of my writings. I filed a complaint against Negangard for the unconstitutional investigation in June 2010. On January 10, 2011, Indiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard dismissed the complaint. On January 15, 2011, Negangard made me the target of a grand jury investigation. No one filed a criminal complaint against me. No one sought restraining orders. My computer wasn’t subpoenaed. Negangard told a grand jury that intimidation laws prohibit making “over the top” and “unsubstantiated statements about Indiana court officials.”
After voluntarily reporting to Dearborn County, I was arraigned and held on a $500,000 surety/$100,000 cash bond. The prosecution told me to rely on the grand jury transcript to determine the exact nature of the indictments. Judge Brian Hill tried to rush me to trial before I obtained the transcripts. My public defender never met with me outside of a courtroom to discuss my case. I received the transcripts a week before trial. I provided Judge Hill with letters, pro se motions, and verbal pleas in open court stating I did not have any assistance of counsel nor did I have any understanding of what conduct I was expected to defend.
Negangard argued Indiana intimidation laws prohibited making false statements about judges. Negangard also argued failure to convict me would ultimately lead to the collapse of the United States of America. I was convicted and served two and one-half years of a five-year prison sentence. Chief Justice Loretta Rush wrote the opinion that upheld my convictions. Rush argued my trial was plagued with constitutional errors stemming from Negangard’s improper reliance on criminal defamation. Rush then argued some of my statements were carefully veiled threats of harm; an argument not made by the prosecution.
Normally the fundamental errors would require reversal of the convictions, but Rush wrote that the trial strategy of my public defender somehow invited those errors. There was no record of my public defender’s trial strategy because he never had one. It’s noteworthy that Rush and Humphrey served together on the Indiana Supreme Court Juvenile Justice Improvement Committee for several years, including the time when my case was before the Supreme Court. Rush and Humphrey were also in the same the graduating class of 1983 at Indiana University law school in Bloomington.
I’ve always said exaggeration does my story a disservice. I haven’t even mentioned how I can prove the Dearborn County Superior Court altered grand jury transcript and then tried to edit the grand jury audio to match it. How do I know? The transcript contains more information than the audio from which it was allegedly transcribed. I raised these and many other issues in a petition for post-conviction relief. I filed a motion for summary judgment and included transcripts, audio, and other records to support my claims. The state argued issues of material fact prohibited summary judgment, making a hearing mandatory.
Judge W. Gregory Coy issued an order stating summary judgment was not available in the proceedings, argued my claims against judges and attorneys lacked any factual basis, and then Coy granted summary judgment to the non-movant state. (Yes, you read that correctly.) Once again, I find myself having to argue to another Indiana court that it’s improper for a judge, prosecutor, and public defender to ignore a defendant’s claim of receiving no assistance of counsel and not understanding indictment information.
Incidentally, the former prosecutor who abused the grand jury and criminal process is now Chief Deputy to Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill. Curtis Hill is listed as counsel for the state in my appeal. Hill’s office will also be representing the opposing party in a hearing on February 26, 2018, pertaining to my public records lawsuit seeking an unaltered copy of the grand jury audio from my grand jury investigation.
Below is the introduction that will appear in my appellate brief.
The indifference of Indiana court officials in ignoring and/or contributing to the problems in Brewington’s case is no less troubling than the institutionalized indifference that made it possible for child abuse to go unreported in the Roman Catholic Church. This indifference allowed sexual harassment in the workplace to become an “acceptable” norm, which only recently came under fire during the recent #metoo movement. The retribution that is inflicted on one outspoken voice can silence the voices of thousands.
The institution of the Indiana Judiciary has a similar system in place to deal with litigants that express adversarial views of the courts. This system often places Indiana attorneys in a position of compromising the interests of clients due to a fear of an adverse ruling or disciplinary action from the Indiana Courts. The subject of this appeal is not whether the content of Brewington’s inflammatory statements about Indiana court officials enjoyed First Amendment protections.
This appeal focuses on the fact that Brewington was forced to trial without basic legal assistance or any understanding of the indictments stemming from a grand jury investigation for criminal defamation. Former Dearborn County Prosecutor F. Aaron Negangard sought intimidation indictments against Brewington for making “over the top” and “unsubstantiated” statements about officials operating within the Indiana courts. There is no question of whether Brewington raised the claims to the court prior to Brewington’s trial. The record demonstrates Brewington filed motions on his own to notify the trial judge that Brewington’s public defender refused to meet with or speak to Brewington about the criminal proceedings and Brewington had no understanding of the conduct he was required to defend.
Trial transcripts show Brewington voiced the same concerns to the trial judge on more than one occasion. The evidence of Brewington’s non-existent legal representation is not proven though Brewington’s allegations appearing on the record, but rather the deafening silence shouting from the pages of the trial transcript where there should have been a response. The record is void of Barrett making any attempt to provide the legal assistance necessary to understand the indictments. The trial court also refused to address the issue, while Negangard remained silent, taking full advantage of the opportunity to prosecute knowing Brewington was unaware of what conduct required defending.
The nonchalant confidence in forcing a defendant to trial without legal assistance and requisite charging information mirrors what a person would expect to see in a movie dealing with racism in an Alabama courtroom from the early 1900s. Even an unspoken agreement to ignore Brewington’s claims relies on a deeper institutional-wide acceptance of such conduct. The post-conviction court’s summary denial of Brewington’s Verified Petition for Post-Conviction Relief also does nothing to bolster any confidence with the Indiana judiciary.
The case of Tyson v. State, 622 N.E.2d 457, (1993) deals with the recusal of Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard and the “Indiana way” of administering justice. While attending a social engagement, the wife of the Chief Justice of the Indiana Supreme Court told Alan M. Dershowitz, attorney for Mike Tyson, “that [Dershowitz] needed to be better attuned to the Indiana way of approaching things as this appeal progressed.” Indiana may be the only state with case law suggesting Indiana courts administer justice in their own manner. The “Indiana way” in Brewington’s case equates to Indiana courts searching for absurd rationalizations as to why the courts should continue to ignore Brewington’s right to legal assistance and an understanding of the indictments.
Even more amazing is the animosity Indiana courts have for Brewington because Brewington refuses to stop fighting for the right to a fair trial. If not for Brewington’s persistence, the misconduct would have been swept under the rug, leaving open the opportunity to punish the next outspoken voice. Fortunately, this appeal gives this court the opportunity to determine whether “the Indiana way of doing things” consists of administering additional retribution or administering fair justice.