Blog Archives

Defendant friendly Mike DeWine

Of course Mike DeWine doesn’t treat all those accused of a crime like friends and family, but when he does they normally receive a “get-out-of-jail-free” card.  Former Marine Michael Brelo isn’t that lucky.  But before we begin, we want to make it perfectly clear that OCGJ is not passing judgement on the guilt or innocence of Mike Brelo…..that’s up to the courts, unless of course Mike DeWine decides to weigh in as he has in the past regarding sexual harassment allegations from his staff.  In any case, what we will do is shine a bright light on the process that got Cleveland cop Mike Brelo in a position where he has to literally fight for his freedom, not to mention the long term security of his family. Mike …

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A tale of two fall guys (Part 2)

In our last post OCGJ compared the transgressions and sentencing of rogue Athens County (Ohio) sheriff, Pat Kelly to another criminal, former Greene County Treasurer, James Schmidt.  After years of causing embarrassment to the political class, Kelly was prosecuted and sent to prison for seven years.  In contrast, Schmidt was offered probation with a nominal fine despite stealing from Greene County taxpayers for over two decades.  The main difference between Kelly and Schmidt is that Republican James Schmidt for nearly a quarter century operated inside Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine’s inner circle where Kelly was a Democrat outsider looking in. This week OCGJ will compare recently disgraced 4-term Illinois Congressman Aaron Schock to Dave Hobson, 9-term Republican Congressman from Ohio.  Just as in the Kelly-Schmidt dichotomy, there are …

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A tale of two fall guys (Part 1)

Once in a while a political class insider takes a hard fall.   Today we’ll take a close look at fall guy number one, former Athens County Sheriff Pat Kelly. Last week visiting Judge Patricia Cosgrove sentenced Kelly to 7 years in prison on 18 counts of corrupt activity including twelve counts of “theft-in-office.”  OCGJ has repeatedly exposed another corrupt elected official, former Greene County (Ohio) Treasurer James Schmidt.  There are a few significant differences between the two cases, which we’ll cover later, but two similarities help put things in perspective. Defendants Kelly and Schmidt were both prosecuted for “theft in office,” a third degree felony. (3)   Second, both cases transpired over a long period of time. Schmidt and Kelly violated the law for years before their cases found …

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Three-tiered justice

We often hear about our “two tiered” justice system; one tier for the citizens and another for political class insiders.  Actually there’s a third tier carved out especially for adversaries of powerful elitists.  That third tier has two subgroups; whistleblowers and political enemies.  Broken down further, the political class takes two paths to muffle whistleblowers; active legal engagement and “kick-the-can-down-the-road” delaying tactics.  Sure, state and federal governments claim to have whistleblower protection laws, but the lawyer-politician class holds all the cards even when overwhelmed by compelling evidence one of their insiders gets crosswise with the law.  The $1.9 million BRAC Initiative agreement provides a defining example. For nearly ten years Green County politicians, the Dayton Development Coalition, the FBI and the courts have stonewalled a mountain of evidence …

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Perfect crimes for perfect criminals

There are four elements of a perfect crime; (1) motive, (2) opportunity, (3) the criminal act itself, and of course a crime wouldn’t be perfect unless the perpetrator escaped meaningful consequences; hence (4) the cover-up. If the definition of perfect crime were published in Webster’s Dictionary, a picture of David Petraeus would accompany the written characterization. Retired General David Petraeus, former Director of the CIA, pled guilty to compromising classified information, which included felony violations of the Espionage Act and Intelligence Identities Protection Act (IIPA).(2) Despite indefensible felony violations, Obama’s justice department cleared the way for a plea bargain that included two years’ probation and a $40,000 fine,(1) which amounts to no more than two or three months of General Petraeus’ military retirement pay. You may agree this …

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Government mandates suicide prevention

Anything we do to reduce college suicides can’t be a bad move, but at the same time when our elected leaders pass a law like House Bill (HB) 28 that “seeks to stop college suicides,”(1) it’s fair for citizens to examine its potential effectiveness and also the motives of those who support the bill, which probably include the entire General Assembly.  Whether or not HB 28 has a meaningful impact on preventing suicides we can’t imagine any politician who would not vote for a law that suggests it could put an end to that pain and suffering.  If he opposed it, in the least it would give his opponent in the next election a golden opportunity for a negative campaign ad.  However, more important questions are, “What impact …

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Darwinian justice

In Charles Darwin’s world, no matter your position in the food chain, your next meal not to mention your survival depended on speed, agility and cunning.  Whether or not you buy into Darwin’s version of evolution and/or natural selection, the “survival of the fittest” model is alive, well and thriving in the 21st Century, with a few extras.  Financial wealth and political influence are now the dominant currencies that determine your relative position in the food chain.  They may also be the deciding factors determining whether or not you remain free to exercise your free will.  HSBC, the world’s third largest bank, provides all the evidence we need to validate the assertion that in the U.S. wealth can keep you out of prison no matter the crime you …

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The war on human trafficking

The Feds, Ohio and other states have doubled down on addressing human trafficking, a longtime but growing scourge that mostly affects vulnerable children and women.  Law enforcement and the courts have declared a virtual war on human traffickers, but are they serious? More than a half century ago President Lyndon Johnson “declared unconditional war on poverty in America.”  Fifty years and $22 trillion dollars later the war on poverty has failed miserably.(2)  Not only is a significant percentage of the population less self-sufficient than when the war on poverty began, billions of anti-poverty dollars do not get to those who need it the most.  Welfare fraud and waste dominate, not to mention the political class has lobbied for and won a whole new set of laws to protect …

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What happened to Bill Schenck?

More than a year ago Bill Schenck, former Greene County Prosecutor embarrassed himself and his employer, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine in a police cam video taken shortly before his arrest for operating a vehicle impaired (OVI).  If you ask those who know Mr. Schenck, they will probably agree the former Assistant U.S. Attorney’s apparent problem with substance abuse has been around for a while.  I met Mr. Schenck more than ten years ago when he invited me to appear on “Due Process,”  a local access television program.  It was just prior to the 2002 election when I opposed Dave Hobson in the Republican Primary.  I was honored that he made that forum available to me considering Dave Hobson was his close friend and political ally.  I specifically recall a spirited exchange on term limits, …

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Ohio political class forms another jobs panel

For a half century or longer presidents, Congress and the Department of Defense (DoD) have been nipping at the edges of defense acquisition reform.  Many of us who have participated in managing federal programs and budgets would agree the process is seriously flawed, if not unfixable without drastic changes.  Not since WW II did the U.S. have our act together in uniting private industry, the government and the people in pursuing victory over an enemy that threatened our national security.  Sure, we have had isolated successes, but for the most part industry, government and a relatively small number of private citizens have put their own interests above the pursuit of cost-effective national defense.  As President Reagan said as he called for the Packard Commission in 1985, “Waste and …

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