In the current campaign, Perry is stressing three issues: Fairness in handling cases, careful review of cases before filing, and following state law in regard to asset forfeiture from the seizures on I-70.
"It is vitally important that people have confidence that criminal cases are handled fairly," Perry said. "There just can't be special deals for special people. If I am prosecutor, it won't make any difference who a defendant is, or who he knows, or who he is related to, or how politically connected his lawyer is. All cases will be judged by the same standard.
"Just as important is handling all cases fairly is making sure the cases that are filed are solid cases," Perry continued. "Too often in this county, cases are filed on the basis of incomplete investigations, only to see them dismissed later. In the meantime, the accused has had to hire a lawyer, may have spent time in jail, and may have lost employment. In other cases, serious charges are originally brought, only to be reduced to less serious charges during plea-bargaining. We need to charge what we can prove, and prove in court what we charge."
In regard to the property seizures on I-70, Perry noted the state law is clear that forfeited money goes to the Common School Fund after repaying law enforcement for their costs. Like most counties in Indiana, Putnam County simply ignores the law and keeps essentially all the money to spend on law enforcement instead of education, Perry said.
"I think it is troubling when the very officials who are responsible for enforcing the law break the law themselves," he said, "Most of these cases never come to court, so our judges never rule on whether a seizure was legal or decide how the money is to be divided. On top of that, Putnam County has paid a Terre Haute lawyer hundreds of thousands of dollars in contingent fees to handle these cases, and some of the expenditures of asset forfeiture money are questionable. If I am prosecutor, I will make a thorough review of this whole asset forfeiture business and make sure that, at a minimum, law enforcement in Putnam County is observing the law."
Perry practices law in Greencastle with Karen K. Temple. His practice concentrates on bankruptcy, criminal defense and personal injury.
From 1996 to 2004, he was a part-time deputy prosecutor for Putnam County.
"In those eight years I tried every kind of case that came in, from truancy to murder," Perry said.
Much of his work involved being the Juvenile Court prosecutor.
Before coming to Greencastle, Perry was an assistant United States attorney in Indianapolis. Working with agents from the IRS, FBI, DEA and Secret Service, Perry prosecuted cases including narcotics, trafficking, tax evasion, bankruptcy fraud and counterfeiting.
Perry was recently married to Theodora "Teddy" Lenderman. He has two adult daughters, Katherine Perry, a 2003 graduate of Greencastle High School and a 2008 graduate of Scripps College who lives in Los Angeles, and Georgia Perry, a 2004 graduate of North Central High School and a 2008 graduate of Indiana University who lives in Portland, Ore.
Locally, Perry has coached summer fast pitch girl's softball and has appeared in productions at the Putnam County Playhouse.