REGISTER VIEWPOINT: And justice for those who can pay

You don't have to like the Gravelles or condone what they were convicted of doing to dislike what hashappened to them, or wonder wha
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010

You don't have to like the Gravelles or condone what they were convicted of doing to dislike what hashappened to them, or wonder what it means for the rest of us.

Michael and Sharen Gravelle of ClarksfieldTownship were convicted of keeping some of their11 special-needs foster children in enclosed beds -- or "cages," depending on who you believe. They lost custody and then were convicted of abuse and other crimes.

There's no area of indifference surrounding this couple. Their defenders are asvociferous and uncompromising as their critics.

They are either -- again, depending on who you believe -- persecuted for doing the best they could withchildren no one else wanted, or exploiters and mistreaters of those very children.

The Gravelles are fighting their convictions in Huron County Common Pleas Court. It's been a long fight, this last year, and an expensive one. Attorneys' fees, of course, and access to court documents, and the sheer time and expense of pushing a case through ever-higher levels of the justice system.

It's not cheap; the Gravelles have learned to think in terms of tens of thousands of dollars, and they've found people willing to donate to their cause. It's still an enormous drain.

But the name of the game is money, even if you're willing to commit the time and strain of fighting a system famous for its inertia, even when it's not being downright obstructive.

The theory is, we're all entitled to the protection of the law, and we're all entitled to appeal our case.

The reality is, it takes time and treasure to do so, more than a lot of us have. You don't have to like or dislike the Gravelles to be bothered by that.