East Chicago City Councilman Robert Battle has a lot to worry about, as he sits in Porter County jail in Indiana with murder and federal drug distribution charges. One thing Battle does not have to worry about, for the time being, is his council seat. Voters were undeterred by the politicians alleged transgressions and re-elected Battle in November, a month after he caught the charges, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Instead of the mayor, Battle was sworn in by an “unnamed official” on January 22, while behind bars. Lake County Democrats, Battle’s political party, have been looking for ways to unseat the jailed councilman and replace him, to no avail. In accordance with Indiana state law, Battle is able to hold his seat and collect his $42, 365 salary while incarcerated. This is the way things will remain until Battle either resigns, admits guilt to any of his charges or is found guilty in court.
Batlle has pleaded not guilty to the charges he is facing. The Tribune reports:
Battle, 42, was charged last month with the murder of 31-year-old Reimundo Camarillo Jr., of East Chicago, in the alley behind Battle’s home early on Oct. 12. According to court records, Walter Alvarez, representing Battle at the time, told police his client shot Camarillo in self- defense after Camarillo pulled a knife on him.
Battle also is facing a federal drug charge of possession with the intent to distribute [cannabis] after he was arrested on Interstate 94 in Porter County with 73 grams of marijuana and $100,700 in cash, according to court records.
Battle’s trial is scheduled for August.