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No appeal filed; Marshall begins jail sentence

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VERNON — Michael R. Marshall, the former state representative from North Vernon who pleaded guilty last week to three counts of voter fraud, arrived Wednesday morning at the Jennings County Jail to begin his 18-month sentence for three felony convictions of voter fraud.

The longtime Jennings County Democratic Party worker is expected to serve nine months behind bars, with the remaining time on probation, according to terms handed down May 1 by Jennings Circuit Court Judge Jon Webster.

Following the sentencing hearing, Webster gave Marshall one week to get his affairs in order. But the judge also told defense attorneys James Voyles and Larry Wilder to file an appeal by 9 a.m. Wednesday if they wanted to keep their client out of jail during the appeals process.

No such appeal was submitted by the judge’s deadline, according to Jennings Circuit Court Reporter Linda Buchanan.

Webster said Wednesday’s missed deadline left Marshall no choice but to surrender himself to county authorities to begin his sentence. Records show Marshall was formally booked into jail at 10:31 a.m. Wednesday.

However, Webster also said Marshall’s attorneys legally have until June 1 to begin the appeals process. If an appeal is filed, Webster said he will likely hold a hearing to determine whether Marshall can be released on bond.

Calls by The Republic to both Voyles and Wilder to inquire about the appeal were not returned as of Wednesday afternoon.

Marshall, who served in the Indiana General Assembly from 1983 to 1984, admitted in court that he filled out three applications for absentee ballots during the 2010 fall campaign.

Those applications were for his son, a Marine stationed at the time in California; his brother, who lives in Georgia; and for a former roommate who no longer lives in Jennings County.

On May 1, Webster denied a defense request to have the felony charges reduced to misdemeanors. The judge also said he would not consider a form of alternative sentencing, such as house arrest.

The felony convictions could jeopardize Marshall’s liquor license, which he needs to operate his business, Christopher’s Pub on Fifth Street in North Vernon, Voyles said last week.

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