Former Marion Co. prosecutor calls malpractice claims groundless
Former Marion County prosecutor Carl Brizzi calls the claims in a malpractice suit filed against him "unreasonable, frivolous and groundless." In his response to filed with the court, Brizzi says the suit filed by former Hancock County coroner Tamara Vangundy does not have any merit.
Vangundy hired Brizzi last year to represent her in a case of official misconduct. Vangundy contends that Brizzi gave her "admittedly wrong legal advice that forever ended" her career as an elected official in Indiana.
In May 2012, Vangundy was arrested for suspicion of driving under the influence. She says she took Ambien, a prescription sleep aid, and had a glass of wine without knowing a possible side-effect could include "sleep-driving." Prosecutors charged her with two Class A misdemeanors and a Class D felony. The felony charge was for official misconduct.
Vangundy says Brizzi advised her to take the plea agreement and wrongly told her that doing so would not jeopardize her ability to remain coroner or her ability to run for re-election.
As part of Brizzi's response filed in Marion County, he admits he "misinterpreted the applicable statutes", but he says he quickly corrected his advice and told her she could back out of the deal.
Brizzi then says, "Upon being presented with the choice of going to trial versus accepting the Plea Agreement (with the knowledge and understanding that she could not remain Hancock County Coroner or run for reelection), Plaintiff [Vangundy] opted to proceed with the Plea Agreement."
The case is scheduled for trial in July 2014.