Brizzi won't run in 2010 - 13 WTHR Indianapolis

Brizzi won't run in 2010

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Helen Marchal Helen Marchal

Sandra Chapman/Eyewitness News

Jan. 26 update: Helen Marchal announced Tuesday that she will not run for prosecutor in 2010.

Indianapolis - After months of being under fire for his close relationship with an Indianapolis businessman now under federal investigation, Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi has decided not to run for re-election. The two-term prosecutor says the decision was not an easy one.

"I'm not going to seek a third term as prosecutor and the biggest reason for that is I can't commit to the voters, or I'm wrestling with the idea of committing to the voters for literally another five years," said Brizzi.

with one year left to serve, Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi ended wide-spread speculation that he would not seek another term in office. He cites time constraints and a daughter in transition as factors.

"She's going to college next year, and three more following right behind her, so I'm going to work on that for a while," he said.

But critics say he's lost credibility over his financial ties to Indianapolis millionaire Tim Durham, who is under federal investigation for investment fraud.

"There is no other elected official in the state of Indiana that has been as transparent as I have been in all of my finances," said Brizzi.

The FBI recently raided Durham's Indianapolis headquarters and the offices of his Ohio company Fair Financial. Investigators allege that Durham ran a Ponzi scheme defrauding Fair Financial investors out of potentially hundreds of millions of dollars. Brizzi accepted and recently declined to sit on Fair Financial's board after learning of an investigation into the company's financial dealings.

Brizzi has also accepted major campaign contributions from Durham, who hasn't been charged.

Now stepping aside, Brizzi is endorsing his former Chief of Staff Helen Marchal, to run instead. Marchal says it took serious contemplation.

"I really began some serious contemplation. I'm a mom; I've got three little kids, I have a husband who is an active Democrat. There were lots of things to think about. But ultimately I decided that this county, the people that live here in this city, deserve a prosecutor who has experience. And I am that candidate," she said.

Marchal resigned her supervisory post in the prosecutor's office Wednesday. Under the Hatch Act, she could not campaign and manage the $2 million in federal grant money coming into the office. She says she has prosecuted many cases, the last one in 2001.

Republican Party slating is set for February 13th.

Marchal's husband, Jeff, is a Democratic commissioner with Marion County Courts.

Jan. 15 update: Former state lawmaker David Orentlicher is filing his campaign finance report on Friday. It will show $183,750 cash on hand. The Democrat is running to succeed Carl Brizzi as Marion County Prosecutor.

Brizzi sent the following letter to his supporters:

Dear Friends,

With the support of my family and after careful consideration, I have decided against seeking a third term as Marion County Prosecutor. This decision was not an easy one, but after serving as Prosecutor for the last seven years, I have wrestled with the question of whether I could make a commitment to serve an additional five years.

I am still incredibly passionate about the job we do and our commitment to a victim centered philosophy that criminals have a choice and victims don't. I could not be any prouder of our accomplishments over the past seven years. We ended 2009 with an overall jury trial conviction rate of 79%, and a 90% conviction rate in murder trials. The overall conviction rate is well above the national average of 71% and above the 70% conviction rate the office had in 2002, the year before I was elected prosecutor.

We have increased our conviction rates and expanded services while at the same time operating under budget and returning tax dollars back to the county general fund. Our focus, however, has always been on more than just statistics. Working with the legislature, we changed the criminal code by enhancing the penalty for feticide, fixing the loopholes in child seduction, adding gang sentencing enhancements, and creating a methamphetamine registry.

I have always strived to maintain a balance between rehabilitation and punitive justice. However, criminals must be held accountable. We recently prosecuted, without apology, the individuals responsible for the worst crime in the history of the state. We convicted the Hamilton Avenue murderers and they will spend the rest of their lives behind iron bars.

Children have always been one of my top priorities. In my first year as Prosecutor, I created a mentoring program called, MYKID (Mentoring Youth: Kids Improving Directions), for children that are at risk of delinquent behavior. We are in five schools and mentor approximately 100 middle school students.

I have taken the fight to sex predators through cyberspace. Since 2006, our office has conducted online stings and arrested nearly 100 dangerous Internet sex predators through these sting operations. For every arrest, we have saved at least one child, and perhaps many more, from serious harm. And, we expanded services in our child support division that has resulted in massive increases in yearly collections. In 2003, this division collected a total of $76 Million. In 2009 that number had risen by over $30 Million to over $106 Million.

It has been a great honor to serve as Prosecutor. I will continue to work hard for the best interests of our community and make 2010 another banner year for our office. Thank you for your support.

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