WARSAW — Its often heard where an individual is placed on a paid or non-paid administrative leave of absence following any criminal charges being filed against him. But elected officials fall under a different category. This includes the sheriff.
Matthew Kochevar, co-general counsel for the Indiana Secretary of State Election Division, stated based on his “current understanding of the election code, I am not aware where a county elected officer can be placed on leave because of being indicted. I’m not aware of any statute.”
Kochever reiterated it was his understanding an elected official does not have to take a leave of absence and the individual can continue exercising the duties of that office. Referring to the matter in Kosciusko County, where the sheriff has been indicted on 10-counts by a grand jury, Kochever stated “he was indicted, he has not yet been convicted. If he’s convicted, it is an automatic removal from office by state law.”
He stated Indiana Code 5-8 covers the offices of state and local administration. Section 5-8-1-1 does cover impeachment and removal from office procedures.
That statute states all state officers, other than justices of the supreme court or judges of the court of appeals of Indiana or the Indiana tax court, all other judges, prosecuting attorneys and all county, city, town and township officers are liable to impeachment for any misdemeanor in office. The statute states impeachments must be by resolution, adopted, originated in and conducted by managers elected by the house of representatives, who must prepare articles of impeachment, present them at the bar of the senate and prosecute the same and the trial must be had before the senate sitting as a court of impeachment.
Further procedures are spelled out in the statute. It also requires a two-thirds vote to be convicted on impeachment.