KOKOMO – After studying politics and politicians for the entirety of my adult life, I’ve noticed the propensity of our elected leaders to want it both ways. This can be seen across a variety of issues.  
 
Sen. Max Deerjaw has grown adept at arguing for the sanctity of life when it comes to the issue of abortion, but he can launch an equally lucid rationalization for the death penalty. Rep. Tad Earwax hops on the stump and attacks the inherent evil of property tax increases and in the next breath can advocate jacking up the gas tax. No, turning and twisting facts, statistics and emotions to get the response you want from the voting public is nothing out of the ordinary when it comes to politicians of both political parties in Indiana.
 
I guess it should come as no surprise that Attorney General Curtis Hill should make the attempt to eat off of both sides of the plate when it comes to his disastrous problem with the sexual assault allegations. Hill’s initial claims of being denied due process and an opportunity to tell his side of the story made him somewhat of a sympathetic figure to many people. To the average Hoosier not subscribing to the “get accused and get tarred and feathered” mentality of these “#MeToo” times, the early failure of legislative leaders and other elected officials to give Hill even a minimal presumption of innocence and due process smacked as unsportsmanlike.  
 
Every attorney whom I discussed the situation with agreed that in an employment or civil law setting, Hill had no right to a presumption of innocence or due process. This apparent fact virtually mandated that unless Hill was willing to fold his tent and call it a day as attorney general, he had to shift the investigation from the political world to a criminal investigation.
 
Hill called a press conference on July 9 and read a brief statement laying out his case for an independent review of the allegations. As part of his statement Hill stated:
 
“I now stand falsely accused of some of the same crimes I spent 28 years prosecuting. Yet without a thorough investigation — without the right to face my accusers and review the evidence against me — I am convicted by public officials demanding my resignation. I believed that the standard in this country is that you are innocent until proven guilty—not guilty until proven innocent.
 
“I am not resigning. The allegations against me are vicious and false. At no time did I ever grab or touch anyone inappropriately. The lack of fairness and the failure to recognize my constitutional rights are a complete travesty.
 
“Elected officials have called for my resignation without affording me any due process or conducting an actual, fair and independent investigation. The fact that the governor, who appoints the inspector general, has already determined the outcome of the investigation eliminates the ability of the inspector general to conduct a fair and independent investigation.
 
“This fundamental lack of fairness and due process regarding this prejudicial so-called ‘investigation’ is in violation of the principles on which this country was founded.
 
“I demand an independent investigation by the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office, where my constitutional rights are respected and protected. Once the investigation is complete and I am exonerated, I would hope that my good name is properly restored with the same vigor with which it has been tarnished.”
 
Most people who I’ve spoken with around the Hoosier State felt this was the right decision and fair.  I was certainly one of those people.
 
But fast forward to July 12. Attorneys for Curtis Hill filed paperwork with the Marion County Superior Court challenging the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate the alleged groping and sexual assault accusations. The crux of Hill’s court filing is that the appointment of a special prosecutor is premature given that no criminal complaint has been filed by any of the four alleged victims.
 
Whoa there, Curtis! Didn’t you just say on July 9, “I demand an independent investigation by the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office…”? Did something change in the five days between your press comment and your court filing? There is something troubling about this incongruity. Do you want due process or do you not want due process?
 
Methinks I smell the odiferous presence of attorneys. Curtis Hill appears to have exited the world of righteous indignation and entered the ethereal world of legal purgatory.
 
Here is my best guess about the direction that the Curtis Hill mess is heading. First, appeal to the better angels in us all by calling for due process and a presumption of innocence that can only be afforded in a criminal investigation process. This strategy seems fair and serves to blunt the immediate cries of, “Off with his head!”
 
Next, criminal attorneys get into the picture and inform Hill that although the benefit of the criminal investigation is due process and a presumption of innocence, the downside could be charges filed, a possible conviction, jail time, disbarment and impeachment. Likely, his criminal attorneys reminded the former Elkhart County prosecutor that to enter a grand jury room is to throw caution to the wind. A county prosecutor once told me that there is no one more powerful than a prosecutor in front of a grand jury.
 
Possibly, Hill’s legal advisers have tried to move him to a Catch-22 world where he can’t receive due process and presumption of innocence without a criminal investigation, but where he can’t have a criminal investigation without a criminal complaint being filed. Sounds like a Pink Floyd song in the making: “If you don’t eat your meat, you can’t eat your pudding and how can you eat your pudding if you don’t eat your meat?”  
 
In this legalistic limbo, Hill lives to fight another day. In this environment maybe the public will move on to something more interesting, maybe Hill’s base of public support will grow, maybe the accusers will be intimidated by the prospect of subjecting themselves to depositions and maybe the dust will settle with Curtis sitting behind the big desk in the attorney general’s office.
 
Here is my prediction about the final outcome of this disaster. I believe that Hill’s attorneys will convince him that the perils of going through the criminal process will be greater than the consequences of resigning his office.  He would probably bring a complete halt to the inspector general’s investigation and the work of a special prosecutor by resigning. By avoiding the potential consequences of criminal prosecution, Hill retains his membership in the bar and may continue to have a lucrative source of income.  In addition, his pension would not be at risk. Of course, his reputation will be shot, but in the world we live in today, reputations come and go like the migration of sandhill cranes.  
 
In my view, Hill will resign before the end of August, but not before taking a few wild swings at those who have called for his head. It will be a sad ending to a woeful tale. 
 
Dunn is the former chairman of the Howard County and 4th CD Republican parties.