INDIANAPOLIS -- The former Indianapolis city prosecutor is arguing the city's lawsuit against a kennel owner shouldn't be thrown out even though he doctored public records.
In a motion filed Monday, attorney Mark Pizur, now a deputy city prosecutor for the city of Indianapolis, admitted he altered public records in a "moment of frustration and total lapse of judgment."
The records in question were email communications between Pizur and Call 6 Investigator Kara Kenney following the death of puppies at the city shelter.
Supporters of Upton's Famous Pet Training Center say the city illegally seized the dogs during a November raid.
A key issue in the battle is whether the city knew some of the dogs were pregnant.
Pizur told Kenney in January that the city was never informed that some of Upton's dogs were pregnant.
“At no time did Mr. Upton or his legal team notify ACC, the city or the court that any of his female dogs were pregnant and/or about to give birth prior to these events in late December 2015,” Pizur wrote in an email to Call 6 Investigates.
But when Pizur was deposed in March as part of a countersuit against the city, he claimed he was misquoted.
A subsequent records request by Upton's attorney, Marshall Pinkus, revealed Pizur had made that statement to Kenney, but that it had been removed from copies of those records submitted to Pinkus.
Court records show during the November sweep, an Upton's staff member told Indianapolis Animal Care and Control two female dogs were believed to be pregnant.
On Friday, Pinkus filed a motion to have the city's ongoing case against Upton thrown out, claiming Pizur's conduct violated Upton's right to due process:
"What is known is that Mr. Pizur would rather accuse a reporter of falsely quoting him than admit his mistake; would rather accuse the media as a whole of having 'an agenda' than admit it is he who was maliciously scheming; would rather strip the Defendant of his First Amendment and Article I right to freedom of speech than admit it is he who was misleading the public; would rather accuse an attorney who has been practicing for forty years of misleading the court when it is he who was knowingly making false statements to this tribunal. Mr. Pizur's projection is unmatched."
In his response Monday, Pizur took sole responsibility for his statement and doctoring the records, and said it would be inappropriate for the court to dismiss the case or appoint a special prosecutor.
"It would be unfair and unwarranted to prejudice the City's litigation of this case and enforcement of its animal care and treatment ordinances against Defendant merely for the lapse of judgment of the undersigned counsel in this case," Pizur wrote.
Pizur removed himself from the case against Upton on Monday.
The city's case against Upton's kennel is scheduled for trial on August 22.
Pinkus sent copies of his filing to the Marion County prosecutor, Indiana Attorney General and the Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission – the agency that disciplines attorneys.