Attorney says mayor’s sentencing move legal, but difficult without knowledge

Mayor Tom Henry leaving a court hearing after pleading guilty to OWI.
Mayor Tom Henry leaving a court hearing after pleading guilty to OWI.
Published: Nov. 4, 2022 at 4:16 PM EDT
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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA) - Allen County Magistrate Steven Godfrey sentenced Mayor Tom Henry on Thursday to a one year suspended jail sentence, a 90 day suspended license with credit for 25 days served, and ordered him to pay court fees and $3,100 in restitution. However, sentencing was supposed to take place this coming Monday.

According to court records, Henry’s attorney requested the sentencing be moved to Thursday, with the request being filed the same day in open misdemeanor court.

Some were wondering, is this special treatment?

Local attorney Greg Miller, who does not have any connection with the case, says someone is allowed to walk into open misdemeanor court and make the move, as long as that person has an attorney present who knows how the misdemeanor court process works.

Miller explained, “It is allowable. We as attorneys can move those court dates based on our need for being free for other hearings or if, perhaps, the prosecutor is not available. Usually, those court dates can be moved as long as we have agreements between both parties.”

However, Miller says for someone without representation, it’s not an easy thing to do.

“I think it’s very difficult to get a court date moved without having an attorney present,” Miller said. “You know, they could certainly file a pro se motion to continue a hearing, but without knowing who to contact in court and how to get that process, it’s more difficult for somebody who doesn’t have an attorney. They would have to contact the court and file an appropriate motion to continue the hearing date.”

Regarding the magistrates order for Henry’s punishment, Miller explained that from his perspective, the mayor received similar treatment as anybody else charged with a similar misdemeanor.