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 Brelo is one of 13 officers who fired a total of 137 shots at a car after a 23-minute high-speed chase in pursuit of two individuals confirmed to be involved with drug activity. The suspects fled the scene, where, as Brelo approached their vehicle, led dozens of police officers on a late-night pursuit reaching speeds of over 100 miles per hour. Brelo was the only officer charged of the 13 that fired shots into the suspects’ vehicle, but each officer, including those who didn’t fire their weapons, stated deadly force was necessary. (2) DeWine needed a fall-guy and that role fell on Mike Brelo who over a period of 18 seconds when he believed his life and the lives of other police officers were in danger, used deadly force against two suspects who may have already received fatal injuries. Blood tests reveal the suspects had drugs in their system. They both had lengthy criminal histories. Contrast that to defendants James Schmidt, Bill Schenck and Steve Haller, all firmly entrenched in Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine’s inner circle.
For over 20 years, disgraced Greene County Treasurer James Schmidt exercised an “unlawful interest in a public contract” under the watchful eye of Greene County Probate Court Judge Robert Hagler, another DeWine insider. In fact Hagler was solely responsible for authorizing Treasurer Schmidt’s illegal work for Hagler’s Probate Court. Pursuant to Ohio Revised Code, Section 2921.42(A) (1) that is clearly a fourth degree felony. However, the Ohio legal machine got the wrong guy, or at best missed co-conspirator Hagler when they allowed him to crawl back under a rock and agreed to a “walk-in-the-park” plea bargain for Schmidt.
Bill Schenck’s LinkedIn profile lists his experience from August 2006 to Present (April 18, 2015) as Assistant United States Attorney, United States Department of Justice. When OCGJ called Mike DeWine’s office on April 17, 2015, they reported Schenck was still employed by the Ohio Attorney General. In the least this begs the questions, “Is Schenck collecting a paycheck from the Ohio Attorney General, the Department of Justice, or both?, and “Why is Schenck working for either agency after he was convicted of operating a vehicle impaired (OVI) in November, 2013 and implicated in a sexual harassment case while working for AG Mike DeWine in August, 2014?”(5)
Greene County Common Pleas Court Case No. 2009CV0305 named Steve Haller as a defendant in a public records lawsuit. Haller acted as his own defense council and won dismissal on a procedural technicality, then released the records anyway, an act that unmistakably amounts to a confession. Sumner Walters, the same judge that gave James Schmidt his “get-out-of-jail-free” card, ruled on the case.
Steve Haller, Bill Schenck and Mike DeWine have been joined at the hip for more than 40 years. They were private law practice partners before 1976 when Mike DeWine was elected Greene County Prosecutor. Bill Schenck followed DeWine and Steve Haller followed Schenck in that position. For more than four decades DeWine, Schenck or Haller have been chief law enforcement official in Greene County.
Although the James Schmidt scandal and Bill Schenck’s OVI conviction and cover-up are all the evidence we need, there’s a compelling case for wholesale prosecutorial and judicial misconduct within Mike DeWine’s circle of influence. For decades DeWine and his political class cronies have been using the courts to deflect accountability, but instead inflict it on their political enemies. Thirty or more years of fraud, waste, abuse and corruption swept under the rug, and in just a few seconds Officer Mike Brelo made the call that may have saved his life and the life of other policemen. Schmidt, Schenck and other DeWine cronies walk but the prosecution wants to see Officer Brelo take the fall for the entire Cleveland police department, not to mention the Ohio Attorney General.
The bad news is Mike DeWine’s two-tiered justice system will continue until Ohioans wake up and smell the coffee. The good news is DeWine is term limited and it’s only a matter of time before his ego will be chasing that next election victory. Our guess is Mike DeWine’s political career ends at Attorney General as he will not survive the scrutiny of another election.
- John Caniglia, Cleveland police chase and shooting grand jury: Patrolman and 5 supervisors are indicted, The Plain Dealer, May 30, 2014.
- John Caniglia, Judge sets Cleveland Officer Michael Brelo’s trial for April 6th, The Plain Dealer, January 22, 2015.
- Jim Heath, DeWine Answers Questions on Handling of Sexual Harrasment Case, WBNS, August 11, 2014