(Portage, IN) - The former mayor of Michigan City has been practically cleared of criminal charges he alleges were filed to cost him reelection.
The six felony counts of intimidation and misconduct against Ron Meer were dismissed Thursday.
Two remaining misdemeanor counts of false informing will be dismissed on or before February 25 as long as Meer isn’t charged with any further crimes.
The resolution to the allegations was granted by Porter Superior Court Judge Jeff Thode at the request of Jasper County Prosecutor Jacob Taulman.
Thode and Taulman were brought in to handle the case away from the local political arena given the players involved on both sides of the allegations.
Defense Attorney Scott King of Merrillville said the dismissal of charges substantiates the “political hit job” he and his client have alleged from the very beginning.
“Nothing has changed my mind that there were political considerations made in the bringing of these charges literally on the eve of an election,” he said.
The charges stem from Meer’s behavior following the drug related arrest of his stepson, Adam Bray, during a traffic stop less than a month prior to the November 5 election.
Meer publicly alleged his stepson was targeted by his political opponents, including LaPorte County Prosecutor John Lake, to cost him a third term.
Police Chief Mark Swistek alleging in writing that Meer demanded the arresting officers be reassigned stepped down and so did his two assistant police chiefs.
Meer was then arrested six days prior to the casting of ballots.
He lost by 76 votes to republican Duane Parry in a four candidate race.
Bray with a prior conviction for dealing cocaine after entering a guilty plea is scheduled for sentencing September 17.
King said a decision will be made at some point on whether to seek damages for Meer in a civil lawsuit.
“We’ll let the dust settle a bit. It’s certainly not off the table,” he said.
Lake said politics were not involved in any of the cases.
He also said the judge when first presented the evidence against Meer ruled there was probable cause to charge him.
Since replaced by an outside prosecutor, Lake said he hasn’t followed the Meer case and doesn’t know if anything developed in recent months that helped the defense.
“Everything was done appropriately on our end,” he said.
Taulman said his decision had nothing to do with any weaknesses in the allegations.
“I believe the charges filed were appropriate,” he said.
However, Taulman said Meer writing an apology to his former chief and other officers who felt victimized by his aggression was a factor in deciding not to prosecute.
He said such actions are taken into account in other cases where circumstances dictate a second chance.
“We’re certainly not above some grace and mercy at times and we believe this was an appropriate time to go ahead and extend that,” Taulman said.