Wednesday, October 29, 2008


The following editorial recently appeared in the Register.

On Tuesday, Sept. 23, a letter to the editor, titled Candidate clears the air about past," from Dearborn County Commissioner candidate Tom Orschell, was published in The Journal-Press. This letter was about his convictions in 1993 and 1995.

I acquired a copy of the court records. These records are public documents that anyone can get at the Dearborn County Clerks Office for a copying fee. I have included a copy for Register Publications.

In 1993, the Indiana State Police raided Orschell's Corner Cafe and another bar in West Harrison. Six machines were taken in the raids.

Orschell was charged with two felonies, Count I, professional gambling and Count II, promoting professional gambling.

His attorney and the prosecutor negotiated a plea. Count I was reduced to conversion, a Class A misdemeanor and Count II was dismissed.

Orschell plead guilty, was ordered to pay his fine and court cost. He was ordered incarcerated for 365 days of which 350 days were suspended.

Orschell spent 15 days of in-home detention as he stated. The negotiated plea was signed by Orschell, his attorney, prosecuting attorney, and Judge G. Michael Witte.

The plea states that the evidence is to be destroyed except for the coin counting machine that was to be returned to Orschell. The cash was released to the State of Indiana.

In his letter Orschell said he placed the gambling machine in storage.
Witte ordered the evidence, which was the gambling machines, destroyed.

In 1995 Orschell's cafe again was raided. He was again charged with two felonies, Count I, professional gambling, and Count II, promoting professional gambling.

As in 1993, the prosecutor and Orschells attorney worked out a plea.
Count I was lowered to conversion, a misdemeanor, and Count II was dropped.
Orschell was ordered to pay a fine, court costs and ordered incarcerated
365 days. He had 305 days suspended and was ordered to serve 60 days in jail.

Orschell stated in his letter that he served 30 days. That is a difference of 30 days from Wittes order. He indicated that he did not contest the charges and the county did not incur prosecution costs.

When ones attorney negotiates a plea, one agrees to the charges, not contest them. In the letter, there was no mention of the year of probation that was served. He was released from probation Oct. 30, 1996.

If he wins this election, I hope his memory improves!

J. Arthur Wenzel
Miller Township

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