Tippecanoe County Prosecutor Under Scrutiny for Illegal Civil Forfeiture Asset Actions

policing-profitTippecanoe County Prosecutor Pat Harrington has been engaging in a controversial practice, commonly referred to as “Policing for Profit.”  The repugnant practices of Civil Asset Forfeiture are receiving national attention after a federal judge recently issued a ruling in an Indiana case, striking down practices that violate the Constitution.  This has prompted Indiana lawmakers to work on rewriting associated state laws.

The Indianapolis Star reported, “Last November, Jeff Cardella, a professor at Indiana University’s Robert H. McKinney School of Law, filed the federal class-action lawsuit, on behalf of Leroy Washington, whose vehicle was taken by police in September. Washington was arrested and charged with resisting law enforcement, dealing in marijuana and obstruction of justice…Plaintiffs in the class-action lawsuit have argued that Indiana law allows police to seize property from alleged drug dealers and others, regardless of their guilt or innocence, and therefore violates criminal defendants’ constitutional right to due process.”

 According to the Institute for Justice civil forfeiture is “one of the most serious assaults on private-property rights in the nation.”

“Civil forfeiture treats property owners worse than criminals because it empowers police and prosecutors to take your belongings without ever charging you with a crime, much less convicting you of one. To make matters worse, law enforcement often gains financially from civil forfeiture. Not only do police and prosecutors decide what property to seize, they get to keep the property for their own use or profit from its sale. As a result, police and prosecutors have a powerful incentive to seize as much property as they can,” declared a statement via the organization’s website.

Stealing money from school children

In addition, current law in Indiana requires that proceeds can only be used to cover the cause of an action and that remainder funds should go to the Common School Fund; however, many greedy prosecutors have neglected to share the ill-gotten gain, including Tippecanoe County Prosecutor Pat Harrington.

Indianapolis attorney-blogger Paul Ogden called the wayward prosecutors out in a February 19, 2014 blogpost that mentioned Harrington by name.

“For far too long, police and prosecutors in Indianapolis have been keeping 100 percent of forfeiture proceeds for themselves.  The Constitution couldn’t be clearer–‘all forfeitures’ belong to the schools–yet the Indiana school fund hasn’t seen a penny of forfeiture money from Indiana’s capital since before some current students were even born.  Meanwhile, police and prosecutors are siphoning off millions of dollars in civil forfeiture proceeds, violating both the Indiana Constitution and the state’s Civil Forfeiture Statute and fueling an increasingly aggressive forfeiture machine.”

If Pat Harrington is confused as to why citizens are upset with him, he need look no further than this issue.  It tops a growing list of grievances.

 

 

Crime Victims Want New Prosecutor in Tippecanoe County as Thousands of Criminals Go Unpunished; Law Enforcement Relationship with Harrington “At All Time Low”

Murderers Walk Free Meme

The standing room only crowd took Earl McCoy by surprise.  Media announcements for public office don’t generally draw the large crowd that turned out for the Tippecanoe County Prosecutor candidate recently when McCoy formally threw his hat into the ring.  The sentiment in the room was obvious.  Patrick Harrington has failed miserably as the Tippecanoe County Prosecutor.

Several of the invited guests had never attended a political event before that night.  They were thankful that someone was finally giving them a voice.  Feeling betrayed by Harrington, crime victims were anxious to have their stories told.

The most notable victims in the room were family members of Christy Redmon, the local teacher who was allegedly murdered by Darius Printup.   Printup was acquitted of the murder in spite of the overwhelming evidence that pointed to his alleged guilt.  Many in the community were shocked by the verdict and blame Harrington’s legal incompetence for the failure.

Emotions were raw as McCoy declared that Harrington allowed the alleged killer to walk free because of  his inability to prosecute the heinous crime.  Jaws dropped when McCoy announced that an inexperienced deputy prosecutor with only three years’ experience was assigned the task of prosecuting Printup for the cold-blooded murder.

A Redmon family member shouted out in anguish as McCoy spoke.  “Three years!” he cried.

According to McCoy, Harrington has passed a majority of high profile murder cases on to  inexperienced deputy prosecutors.  McCoy believes that Harrington should have taken the lead prosecutorial role in the Redmon case as well as other high profile cases.  Instead, he said Harrington didn’t even show up to Printup’s murder trial.

“He not only lacks judgment, but he lacks the courage to take the lead when it is his duty to do so,” commented one observer.

McCoy had facts and figures to back up his claims and presented them on a large screen using PowerPoint.  There were audible gasps in the room when he revealed that 1,824 cases presented to the prosecutor’s office in 2017 were never filed.  McCoy pointed out that several people likely represent one case; therefore, it counts for thousands of people not receiving justice in our community.

“Police officers are risking their lives and our prosecutor decides not to file charges,” McCoy said.  “The relationship between our prosecutor’s office and the Law Enforcement Officers in the community is at an all time low.”

earl mccoy
Earl McCoy was asked to run for prosecutor by police officers

The mother of several alleged child sex victims broke down in tears as McCoy shared her tragic story that had been reported via the Lafayette Citizen Journal website.  McCoy had learned that Harrington had failed to file sex-related charges against the alleged perpetrator who is currently serving prison time.   The alleged offender had attempted to abduct her fifteen-year-old daughter and also had threatened to kill her.  The last thing the victim wanted was to expose her children to media attention, but after many attempts to reach out to Harrington were ignored, she felt she had no choice.  A few days after the story broke on the LCJ website, she finally received an intake interview from the prosecutor’s investigator.

“I’m 100% sure it had everything to do with the LCJ publicizing it and Earl McCoy talking about it,” commented the victim.

Harrington’s campaign manager lashed out in anger at an LCJ editor after the story appeared and claimed that Harrington had been working on the matter prior to the story being published.

The victim disagrees.  “They didn’t even begin an investigation until it was reported on, that I know for a fact,” she said.  “I’m glad they are moving forward now, but it shouldn’t have taken public pressure for my kids to receive a chance at justice.”

Several other victims were present as McCoy highlighted their particular stories.  He received a standing ovation and loud round of applause as he ended his presentation by saying, “I don’t know about you, but I’m outraged.”

Watch Earl McCoy’s video at this link:

 

 

Local Woman Says Tippecanoe County Prosecutor Pat Harrington Is Ignoring Child Rape Allegations While Victims Live in Fear for their Lives

 

Michael Cope
Michael Cope II was sentenced to prison for possessing a handgun while being a serious violent felon

Michael Cope II is currently serving prison time at the Westville Correctional Facility with an estimated release date of May, 2020.   The Journal and Courier had previously reported that Michael Cope “drove from Rensselaer to Lafayette, allegedly intending to abduct a 15-year-old girl from her mother’s home on Elk Street according to a probable cause affidavit.”

 

Last May Cope was charged with possession of a firearm by a serious violent offender, two counts of carrying a handgun without a license and one count of theft.  Cope is scheduled to be released in May of 2020, a frightening scenario for some his alleged victims, which include several children and their mother who are in fear for their lives if that should happen.

The children, ranging in ages from four to fifteen, allege that Cope committed an array of sexual offenses against them over a period of several years.  They were allegedly threatened with death if they told anyone and only felt safe to speak up after Michael Cope was locked up.

The mother of the children says that Cope has yet to be charged with alleged crimes of rape, sodomy, and molestation of several of her children, including the 15-year-old girl that he was allegedly intending to abduct prior to his arrest.

“I have left several messages with Echo Harrington, [a victim advocate at the Tippecanoe County Prosecutor’s office], in the past several months, and have been meet with extreme rudeness,” stated the victim and mother of the alleged sex victims.  “If he [Cope] gets out he’s going to kill us,” stated the mom.  “I don’t think anyone understands that reality.”

The victim claims that Echo Harrington has told her repeatedly that she will pass messages on to the prosecutor; however, she has yet to hear back from anyone.  “She was incredibly rude and acted like I was an annoyance to her the last time I called to inquire about the case,” commented the mother of the children.  “Those messages aren’t going to save me and my children,” she sobbed.

“Echo told me that they have five years to file charges, but he is scheduled to be released from prison long before that, so that doesn’t do me or my children any good.”  Cope also has an appeal pending, and if successful he could be released prior to the anticipated prison date.

According to mom no one has spoken to her children beyond the Heartford House interview that occurred in July of 2017.  “Shouldn’t they be getting witness statements while it’s still fresh in our minds?” she asked.  “It’s been over six months and we have heard nothing.  That’s not acceptable.”

The mother stated that after Cope was in prison her fifteen-year-old daughter shared that he had been molesting her since she was seven years old.  The mother reported the allegations to the police and her daughter was interviewed by staff at the Heartford House with law enforcement present.  Several other siblings have since shared allegations of being raped, sodomized, and molested by Cope.

The victims continue to live in fear from the ordeal and hold a firm belief that Cope will make good on alleged threats to kill them.