Petition drive picks up steam

Pace of people signing on to call for Stierwalt and Overmyer to be removed doubled Wednesday; dozens leave comments asking Kasich to take action
Register
Mar 20, 2014

Update March 19, 2014: An additional 200 people signed an online petition Wednesday asking Gov. John Kasich to invoke a state law that allows him to remove Sandusky County Sheriff Kyle Overmyer and county Prosecutor Tom Stierwalt from office. 

Many are leaving comments urging Kasich to help. 

"I live in Sandusky County and have had a horrible experience with the Sheriff's Department. They don't care about right or wrong, just how much muscle they can show,"  Sandra Weatherspoon, of Vickery, wrote after signing the petition.

Read the petition

"Too many crimes have fallen through the cracks. Someone needs to be held accountable," Debi Eversole of Castalia wrote.

"These men are here to serve and protect and instead do the opposite," Ashley Mancour, Clyde, posted. 

"Kyle Overmyer has shown blatant disregard for the citizens of Sandusky County, while promoting his own interests in the Jones and Limberios cases. He also has chosen not to properly address the numerous scandals at the jail involving officers and sexual acts with inmates. Now we have a suicide in the jail…who is taking responsibility for that or is it going to be swept under the rug as well? I believe that there will be nothing done about this, unless provoked by the public," wrote Shelly Mills, of Fremont. 

"I grew up in Fremont," Keith Harris of Port Clinton wrote after signing the petition asking for Gov. Kasich's help. "The County is ran by who-knows-who-politics. If you don't 'fit in' they remove you."

"It's important because it is blatantly clear there are deep-rooted issues in Sandusky County," Diane Lowery of Sandusky wrote. "If this is not apparent to those receiving this petition then we have bigger issues in Ohio."

Was Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine's grand jury tainted? Get Friday's Register for an update. Click here for the ePaper, for home delivery or buy the Register every day at a newsstand near you. 

Some supporters of Overmyer and Stierwalt are leaving anonymous comments at news articles about the petition drive and other news stories at sanduskyregister.com. One of them suggested jail guards who sexually exploited a mentally ill female inmate who was denied her medication were also at the same time attempting get her medications for her while they were exploiting her. 

"So how do you say she was denied her medications? Did they or did they not make attempts to contact a family member to get them, if they did how does that constitute her being denied her medications?" the anonymous commenter Simple Enough II posted at sandusyregister.com.

Another anonymous commenter supporting Stierwalt and Overmyer at the newspaper's comments section suggested he was unconcerned about the deaths of two people when they came into contact with sheriff's deputies.

"I wish we could get some answers about why the Register loves criminals so much," PapaJoe wrote on Wednesday in the comments section. "Bryan Jones and Craig Burdine both had long criminal histories and a record of violence."

"Long criminal histories" is an overstatement, but the families of both Burdine and Jones contend previous contacts with local police and sheriff's deputies likely played a role in their deaths. 

Another resident called the Register Wednesday, leaving a message suggesting it should not be reporting about the petition drive or the numerous other scandals plaguing county officials. 

"Stay out of Sandusky County," she said. "We don't need your reporting here." 

Stierwalt and Overmyer have ignored repeated requests for comment. 

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Update March 18, 2014: An online petition asking the governor to invoke a state law to force Stierwalt and Overmyer out has averaged about 100 signatures a day during the first three days since it's been posted. Many of the people signing onto the petition are leaving comments with the reasons they support the effort.

"Every one is accountable for their actions and as an official they should be held to a higher standard," Carolyn Stuart, of Columbus, posted after signing the petition at Change.org

"I live in Sandusky County and I have first-hand witnesses (to) the Sandusky County Sheriff's department inadequacy. I feel they think they are all above the law," Carla Dupont of Vickery wrote. "They need a restructuring starting at the top." 

"I feel that Sandusky County has failed to follow through with their investigations in these cases. They did not collect evidence or order an autopsy in the Jacob Limberios case," Theresa Burris of Huron posted. "I feel there is enough evidence to show they have failed to keep the people in their jail safe, and protect them ... Someone needs to be held responsible for the conduct of the employees of Sandusky County before anyone else gets hurt."

"Failure of justice is a failure in America's foundation and a building with a flawed foundation can not stand the test of time," Tamera Stacy, of Castalia, posted after signing the petition. 

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Original article posted March 17, 2014: The Justice for Jake & Ella group has filed a petition asking Ohio Gov. John Kasich to remove Sandusky County Prosecutor Tom Stierwalt and Sandusky County Sheriff Kyle Overmyer from office "for failure to perform their duties as required by law." 

The petition is posted at the group's Facebook page and includes support from three other families impacted by decisions made by Stierwalt and Overmyer.

The family of Craig Burdine, who died at the Sandusky County Jail shortly after he was brought there in August 2007 has signed onto the petition drive. Family members of Isabel Cordle, who was brutally killed in January 1988 and an alleged rape victim who contends Fremont police did nothing to bring her assailant to justice also have joined the group.

The petition asks the governor to use the power granted him in the Ohio Revised Code to remove Stierwalt and Overmyer from office, and they are promoting the petition at the group's Facebook page under the banner "Stand Up for Justice and Accountability in Sandusky County."

The petition was posted at Justice for Jake & Ella page Sunday evening and had garnered more than 50 signatures by early this morning.

Read the petition

The petition asks Gov. Kasich to "file a formal complaint under Ohio Revised Code 3.08 seeking removal of the Sandusky County Prosecutor (Tom Stierwalt) and the Sandusky County Sheriff (Kyle Overmyer) for failure to fulfill their duties in investigating and prosecuting crimes occurring in Sandusky County. 

"RC 3.08 allows the Governor to file a complaint in the Common Pleas Court in the County seeking removal of county officials who have abused their offices, starting a process whereby evidence can be presented by each side to support their position."

See the Justice for Jake & Ella page

The Justice for Jake & Ella Facebook page has more than 19,000 followers and the petition also asks "other families of victims of abuse occurring in Sandusky County to lend their voices in support of this cause to sign this petition to the governor."

"In numbers there is strength," the petition reads. "We need every fair-minded person who seeks justice to join this effort. We can effect change, but only when we are united."

According to the petition, the state law cited, ORC 3.08, allows "the governor to initiate a process whereby the effected officials can defend themselves from accusations of misconduct (and) allow them a full and fair opportunity to be heard.”

Stierwalt and Overmyer were not immediately available for comment. 

Check back here for updates as they become available. 

The Register has reported the difficulties numerous families have experienced with Sandusky County officials. Click on the links below to read more. 

• Death of Lee Naus

• Isabel Cordle

• Trooper's sex lesson

• Stabbed, beaten burned & zapped

• Bryan Jones

• Limberios shooting saga

• Craig Burdine

• Sexploited jail inmate

Comments

Ctwhalers

Yes please go sign. I did. Great article. Yes more familys need to come forward to help in this cause. Do not be afraid of them.

Stop It

?

MiddleRight

You are signing a petition to remove elected officials.
JUST STOP VOTING FOR THESE PEOPLE!

holysee

Those who sign will be retaliated against. Bank on it. Corruption entrenched. Do you think the repuglican appointed replacements might be better? ALmost evryone I talk to thinks these guys should be replaced except for the tea party people. No one will back that up when push comes to shove because they don't want inevitable retaliation.

Darwin's choice

Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Personal attacks (including: name calling, presumption of guilt or guilt by association, insensitivity, or picking fights).

Licorice Schtick

Great! SR has a moderator again!

BabyMomma

Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Off-topic comments.

BabyMomma

This was off topic but Dr. Drug Dealer's comments are on topic? Typical Democrats. Hate what doesn't agree with you.

Peninsula Pundit

Another off-topic one!
Get 'er, Mr. Moderator!

Simple Enough II

I align with the Tea Party, and unless you have enough hard evidence to warrant an investigation, I'll just wait until election time and see if someone else runs.

doctorsRdrugdealer

@ BabyMomma and we know your a dude or babymomma that must of been denied for your food stamps, because you sit on here and do the same thing. Drink your tea and stay on the article above instead of trying to bash everyones comments and opinions!

Stop It

?

BabyMomma

*you're........I've never used a Foodstamp or card or whatever you guys get. I don't claim a party because no one party is right. They all are correct on some things and off base on others...............I also like how you stayed on topic with the article, bashed my comment with a comment about bashing comments, and then insinuated that I was a tea party member. Lmao..........Do as I say, not as I do!......As far as the article goes, anyone who thinks these 2 idiots should keep their jobs, are the people who stand to be incarcerated when they do go down.

mamaC

Agree Babymomma ......As far as the article goes, anyone who thinks these 2 idiots should keep their jobs, are the people who stand to be incarcerated when they do go down. Cards are going to fall sooner or later that is for sure.

jacksonbrowne

Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Personal attacks (including: name calling, presumption of guilt or guilt by association, insensitivity, or picking fights).

Stop It

?

jacksonbrowne

Not to sign it but to file it and pay for the ballot.

Babo

You are wrong in regards to the proper procedure to remove any official and in particular the removal of a sheriff or prosecutor. The Ohio Revised Code removal process codified at RC 3.07, and 3.08 specifically provides that the Governor can initiate removal proceedings on a Sheriff or Prosecutor. All other officers may only be removed through a petition process signed by eligible voters.

Given the extraordinary executive branch powers that a county sheriff and prosecutor possess; the Ohio Revised Code provides that the Governor as the Chief Executive Officer Office may initiate the Removal process against a Sheriff or Prosecutor upon Complaint by a citizen or citizens. This is so because of the potential for a Sheriff or Prosecutor to abuse their offices to retaliate against citizens who attempt to remove them.

In short citizens are simply smart not lazy to exercise their rights in a collective manner in accordance with the ORC by petitioning the Governor for relief.

jacksonbrowne

Why take the chance of the Gov. not complying with their demands? If they are so sure that they have done a bad job and are so sure that a majority of the voters agree then go the referendum route. Slam dunk right???

Babo

Please read the statutes cited above. The removal process is not a referendum placed on the ballot. It is a Complaint filed in Common Pleas Court by the Governor or by a percentage of the voters in the last Governor's election. Once filed there is a trial on the charges of misconduct justifying removal.

However, I agree with you in part. The Petition as drafted does not have sufficient charges or evidentiary support to convince the Governor to file a Complaint. There's a lot of work to be done.

Babo

This is a start, but the group IMO needs to provide the Governor with specific examples of misconduct supported by documents and affidavits. As it stands now, the Petition does not provide any evidence to encourage people to sign on or to persuade the Governor to file a Complaint. The Group must convince the Governor and the public with facts, stated concisely under oath, that this is a worthwhile and serious cause.

The Governor's lawyers are not going to do the work in preparing a draft Complaint to be filed. The Group needs to draft the Complaint or persuade an attorney experienced in drafting criminal allegations to donate his or her time pro bono.

A well drafted proposed Complaint will convince the Governor of the seriousness of the misconduct and help garner signatures. Once convinced of the seriousness of the allegations, the Governor's office can expand the inquiry and Complaint

mamaC

Do you have a suggestion on an attorney who might do this for the group?
I am sure they would greatly appreciate it.

Babo

I have some ideas and will contact someone trustworthy to discuss them.

mamaC

Thank you Babo..

mamaC

I think that is why Matt linked all the stories on this story to show a pattern. I don't want to speak for him but that is how I took the other stories on there.

cordler

Babo we would love to talk to you further, please send us an email at fnagel007@aol.com

New mom

Signed and agreed those idiots need out

Jmschmidt812

2 stories on the same day about good ol corrupt Sandusky county. Well my oh my the whole county and everyone in it must be corrupt since the register implies that. Give it a rest already. Your complaint won't be going far and these officials will remain in office until they are unseated. So why not direct your energy into finding people who will run against them, then finance their campaign?

Simple Enough II

No, we sandusky countians are just a bunch of morons who can't think per the news articles printed here. If we don't like what is going on we will just vote them out. What I do question is the bias & motives of SR and its staff in regards to SC & Fremont.

John Harville

Then why haven't they been voted out?
Stierwalt, a Dem, has been there 14 years.
Overmyer, a GOoP, is in his first regular elected term. When Dems asked their county chair why there was no one against Kyle, the Chair said "Well, Kyle's a nice guy and doing a good job."
There are lots of RINOs and DINOs in the county but few real Republicans and Democrats.
And then there's the issue of the state parties...and their chairs.

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