REGISTER VIEWPOINT: Baxter should get his own house in order first

Erie County prosecutor Kevin Baxter should back off his personal attacks against Judge Tygh Tone and take a closer look at his own h
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010

 

Erie County prosecutor Kevin Baxter should back off his personal attacks against Judge Tygh Tone and take a closer look at his own house.

Baxter contends Tone erred in ruling that prosecutors failed when they ignored an arrest warrant for almost a decade for a man accused of repeatedly stabbing Corey Clark in 1993. The vicious attack left Clark, now 38, bedridden in a nursing home for all these years.

But the facts are clear: No effort was made to arrest Donald Major even though Major had been in federal custody for years and lived at the same address on file with Erie County officials when he was released from federal custody.

Attempted murder and other charges against Major were dropped last week due to errors made by Baxter's office, plain and simple. Corey Clark's mother said she was repeatedly assured by the prosecutor's office that all efforts were being made to apprehend Major. But that, obviously, was not true.

We've heard this same refrain from Baxter's office before: We're doing everything we can to apprehend the criminal who maimed your family. But his "everything" falls far short of competency.

In 2006, a Huron family was forced to call federal marshals when local officials failed for months to take any action to serve an arrest warrant on a California man they say raped a 6-year-old family member. The prosecutor's victim assistance director assured the victim's mother the arrest warrant had a nationwide radius.

Federal marshals located the man within hours after being contacted by the family, but they couldn't arrest him immediately because the warrant was only for Ohio despite those repeated assurances.

These and other examples prompt us to ask: Does incompetence mean some violent criminals get a free pass in Erie County? Is that OK?

Baxter would be well-advised to review his own house to determine where the breakdown occurred rather than lashing out at Tone and the victim's family. The problem cannot be fixed if he continues to deny it exists.