Update: AG says grand jury vendor's claims aren't accurate

Sandusky County clerk of courts has joint venture with software company, but Attorney General wants it to remove claims of affiliation with the AG
Register
Mar 24, 2014

Breaking news, March 25, 2014: Overmyer's grand jury vendor modifies claims

Update March 24, 2014: The Ohio Attorney intends to tell a computer software firm that has a joint venture with Sandusky County clerk of courts Tracey Overmyer to remove suggestions at its website it also has an association with the AG's office.

AG spokesman Dan Tierney said Monday that Rockware Justice and Team Ray, the software company Overmyer partnered with, would be told to remove references to the Attorney General.

"The Ohio Attorney General's Office intends to send letters to both Rockware Justice and Team Ray Technologies to cease their claim of affiliation with our office," Tierney wrote in reply to an inquiry from the Register sent to him Saturday.

Tierney also said the AG's office is unaware of the nature of the relationship between Rockware and Overmyer. 

"Questions regarding the company's relationship with other public offices should be directed toward those offices," he said.

Overmyer did not respond to a request seeking a more complete explanation of her relationship with Rockware, which appears to have been formed to perform work the clerk's office is required to perform.

She also did not respond to a request for the contracts, requests for proposals and other public records that would be required to subcontract the work.

The Register intends to seek more information from the county auditor's office about any payments made to Rockware or Team Ray, and any existing contracts that Overmyer might have established with the firm.  

The claim on Rockware's website state the company was formed to provide services for Overmyer. 

"Rockware Justice was started as a joint venture between the Sandusky County Clerk of Courts and Team Ray Technologies. Originally initiated to develop an affordable and user friendly Common Pleas Case Management System utilizing the latest technology available. The software suite includes a case management segment, judicial calendar, and cash book manager. The system was successfully launched in April 2010. Retail packages for Municipal and County Courts are being developed."

The portion of the statement by Rockware CEO Ryan Ray that suggests an association with the AG's officer reads: "Additional functionality is being added to integrate Rockware Justice with the Attorney General of Ohio and other state, local and third party agencies."

"The Ohio Attorney General's Office has no relationship with this company," Tierney said.

The exact relationship Overmyer has with Rockware is unclear. It's also unclear whether Rockware has any contracts with any other public agencies. 

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Original story posted March 22, 2014:

Sandusky County clerk of courts Tracy Overmyer told a local newspaper she used a vendor in Bellevue for the jury selection process in the Limberios investigation.

Team Ray Technologies has developed computer programming called Rockware Justice that assists courts in administrative tasks.

On its website, Ryan Ray, CEO of Team Ray Technologies, provides the following description of the relationship with the county: "Rockware Justice was started as a joint venture between the Sandusky County Clerk of Courts and Team Ray Technologies."  

The exact nature of the relationship between the clerk's office and Team Ray/Rockware is not clear.

A joint venture is defined as an association of two or more individuals or companies engaged in a solitary business enterprise for profit without actual partnership or incorporation.

The Register asked Overmyer and Ohio Attorney General spokesman Dan Tierney on Saturday to provide a more complete explanation of the public-private arrangement between Overmyer and Rockware. It also asked for contracts, requests for proposals and the method by which Rockware's software complies with state law governing grand jury selection.

The Fremont News-Messenger explained Overmyer's description of the grand jury selection process this way: "The board of elections randomly selects names and sends them to a vendor the clerk's office uses, called Team Ray, in Bellevue. The vendor's software generates names of the jurors and then the clerk's office sends them letters and questionnaires related to jury duty. In this case, the questionnaires were given directly to the attorney general's office, Overmyer said."

The Ohio Revised Code requires the clerk to advertise the intention to form a grand jury in a local newspaper. It also requires the county's two-person "jury of commissioners" certify the selection process with the presiding judge and the clerk's office.

The ORC also requires, among other things, the jury of commissioners meet and certify the random draw from the annual jury list of the names of prospective jurors.

The Register made a public records request to Overmyer on Feb. 18 asking for an opportunity to review and copy the documents required by the Ohio Revised Code. She initially said the documents were sealed by visiting Judge Dale Crawford under a secret gag order, but later told the AG's office her office had no documents responsive to the Register's request.

In a court motion on Wedneday, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine described "procedural" mistakes in the selection process and asked Judge Crawford to approve the findings of the grand jury despite potential violations of the Ohio Revised Code.

The grand jury determined Nov. 20 that no criminal wrongdoing occurred in Jacob Limberios' death. DeWine said earlier this month he didn't believe any grand jury would have returned an indictment based on the evidence his office presented, and it's unclear why he asked for a grand jury if there wasn't any evidence of wrongdoing.

The investigation by DeWine's offce determined Jacob Limberios accidentally shot himself March 2, 2012. That's in contrast to the findings of the sheriff's office and Sandusky County Coroner John Wukie, who ruled Jake's death an accidental suicide.

DeWine took over the investigation in May 2013 after Crawford cited potential conflicts in the way the investigation was being handled.

Evidence — including blood-spattered shoes and clothing worn by witnesses — was destroyed immediately after Limberios was killed. Other evidence wasn't collected. Wukie refused to order an autopsy, and he has since refused to correct the death certificate to reflect DeWine's findings.

Read the petition for removal of prosecutor, sheriff

It was the second grand jury in Sandusky County headed up by DeWine's office that no-billed an investigation.

In 2012, a grand jury deterimened there was no criminal wrongdoing when jail guards allegedly sexually exploited a mentally ill inmate who was denied her medication. The 21-year-old woman was kept naked in an observational jail cell and encouraged to masturbate and engage in other lewd behavior for the sexual gratification of the guards, according to reports. 

DeWine also must decide whether he will ask for a grand jury in a criminal investigation his office has been conducting since August into the jailhouse death of Craig Burdine in 2007. Burdine died minutes after he was dragged into the jail, and his family contends jail guards caused his death.

Dr. Michael Baden, the famed pathologist, determined Burdine was the victim of a homicide, and DeWine's office has said there was never any local criminal investigation as to what caused Burdine's death prior to the one now being conducted. 

DeWine's office also is investigating the deletion of public records from three computers owned by the city of Fremont. The computers were wiped clean and the documents and the information that was removed is believed to be related to the $36 million in cost overruns during construction of the Fremont Reservoir. 

Read the Ohio Revised Code statutes governing grand jury selection: 

ORC 2939.02

ORC 2313.08

ORC 2313.09

ªORC 2313.10

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

 

Comments

mamaC

WoW!!!! Just wrong that these "officials" can keep in office with stuff done so wrong?

WinstonSmith's picture
WinstonSmith

Either the system allows for these 'officials' to act like this, or it's powerless to prevent the criminal behavior.

It's time for a serious re-evaluation of how we structure our society.

holysee

Team Ray is a sham, as you will soon find out. I assure you, no other county uses such an arrangement. Stay out of Hazzardusky county!

DickTracey

Team Ray is a used car lot.

Who trusts used car salesmen?

mamaC

My question is this was this outsourcing to Team Ray Tech ever bid out to other technology places to provide this service?

Do other surrounding counties use this " method " or team ray tech ?

DGMutley
DickTracey

"Rockware Justice was started as a joint venture between the Sandusky County Clerk of Courts and Team Ray Technologies."  

The exact nature of the relationship between the clerk's office and Team Ray/Rockware is not clear.

I have a few good guesses, Cousin? Nephew? Brother in Law? Grandson? Lover?

It's Sandusky County, that's all you need on your resume.

red white and blue

Its relation

mamaC

Do tell.. How?

mamaC

http://www.change.org/petitions/.... If people do not see there needs to be Accountability in Sandusky County I don't know what it will take.

red white and blue

I will tell you this Tracy Overmeyer use to be in the tittle office years ago team ray owns a car lot they are very acquainted with each other there are some more connections then just this and I promise you it will all come out soon

Ctwhalers

This just keeps getting more and more unreal. Surprised they still have a job.

Ctwhalers

Moderators have removed this comment because it contained A duplicate post.

mamaC

They all have jobs still because it would very uncomfortable at Thanksgiving dinner sit across someone you turned on and had to fire. That is why Sandusky County should not hire/elected family members in position like it is in Overmyer county.. The Government should have this already in place before stuff like this happens. Hmm loyal to my family or do what is best for my community? Family beats community all the time. ; )

holysee

DID YOU READ THE REDUNDANCY OF WHAT THEY DID?
"The board of elections randomly selects names and sends them to a vendor the clerk's office uses, called Team Ray, in Bellevue. The vendor's software generates names of the jurors and then the clerk's office sends them letters and questionnaires related to jury duty. In this case, the questionnaires were given directly to the attorney general's office, Overmyer said."

Why do you need software to "generate" names when the names are already given?
This stinks too bad even for sandco.
What are you up to Mizz Overmyer? You are truly a cog.

slightthroat212

let me get this straight....Ms Overmyer gives all the names to Team Ray so his computer can pick out SOME names to use as the grand jury. She sends those picks the letters and questioneers? And notifies the AG? What did I miss here? Why bother giving the taxpayer names to this dude to pick some names from? Why the extra step? Can't she pick the names herself????? She is the clerk of courts, so why didn't the AG have her just pick the names of eligible people for the grand jury and vette them for the grand jury? This seems even MORE suspicious than if they had done it the right way than with all this intrege. Why ?

Darkhorse

Where is the Ethics Commission when all are related to each other?

SamAdams

Part of the problem is that the regulatory structure is too complex. I'm not excusing any failure to comply nor does this offer up any reason for wrongdoing. What the complexity DOES do, though, is make a lot easier for officials to hide their corruption!

How to pick a grand jury: Random picks from voter registrations. DONE! There's no need here for third parties, nor is there any rationale for refusing (or dragging your feet) to provide information on how grand juries are seated.

Part of what makes this case so difficult for the public to understand and for reporters to get a handle on is that there are apparently myriad regulations, requirements, judges' orders (whether appropriate or inappropriate is hard to tell at this point!) and etc. for people to hide behind or to use as misdirection.

Simplify the existing law, for heaven's sake! And then make just one more: NO MORE RELATIVES in positions of potential conflict of interest! Surely not EVERYbody in Sandusky County is related to the sheriff...ARE they?

the office cat

Board of Elections send all 41,000+ active and inactive voters on the rolls. Computer generates randomly a list of names. Forms are sent to potential jurors to complete and return stating reasons they might not be able to serve - disability, etc. No one can be excused before called for a trial or hearing. But they can be screened out based on their returned forms. Jurors receive calls for specific hearings, trials.
Should we assume the Commissioners or County Exec/Administrator (former clerk of courts) do not provide adequate equipment/operators for two jury commissioners to put the names into the computers?
But this will slide because the Sandusky County News-Messenger will not pursue it.

chuckles

WWW.TEAMRAYTECH.COM

"Rock.careIT is a new division of Team Ray Technologies created specifically to assist small organizations properly utilize the latest technologies to maximize their efficiency...."

Sandusky County Clerk is a 'small organization' that needs to pay an outside company to assist it to "properly utilize the latest technologies"? We pay hundreds of thousands in tax dollars to a governmental agency that needs help "to maximize efficiency..."?

Is this how the Clerk selects all jury pools - like the one I currently am in.

sandtown born a...

WOW WOW WOW I have been following this whole joke of a investigation, autopsy, trial (using these terms loosely) from the beginning the hits just seem to keep on coming. I am curious what part of this whole thing from the that deadly night until today that was actually done correctly? Dewine just keeps excusing the incompetence AMAZING TO ME!!!! There needs to be a clean sweep of all involved!

chuckles

Q: What is a grand jury?
A: The grand jury is a part of the common pleas court system in Ohio. One or more grand juries sit in each Ohio county for a period of four or more months at a time all year round; grand juries meet every day in some counties, once a month in others. The grand jury is composed of nine persons and not more than five alternates. All are residents of the county and were randomly selected to serve, just as trial (or petit) jurors are selected.

Was the Limberios Grand Jury a special grand jury?
Or was it the one selected for the four-month term?

AND WHY DID ONE MEMBER OF THE LIMBERIOS GRAND JURY TELL FRIENDS SHE COLDN'T LISTEN TO A CONVERSATION ABOUT THE CASE BECAUSE THEY STILL WERE DELIBERATING? MAYBE SOMEONE NEEDS TO CALL HER LUNCH BUDDIES?

mamaC

It was suppose to be a "special grand jury" but turned out to be a Special Secret Grand Jury! IMO this judge "sealed" the proceedings so things that were done "wrong" would not be found out. Sneaky Lil official's did not count on a reporter to stay on the case. DeWine was in this case to make it go away just like the rest of them out of SC.

holysee

And what about that Kindred gal who worked briefly at the jail?

chuckles

2939.06 and shall administer, or cause to be administered, to the jurors an oath in the following words to which the jurors shall respond "I do solemnly swear" or "I do solemnly affirm" :

"Do you solemnly swear or affirm that you will diligently inquire into and carefully deliberate all matters that shall come to your attention concerning this service; and do you solemnly swear or affirm THAT YOU WILL KEEP SECRET ALL PROCEEDINGS of the grand jury unless you are required in a court of justice to make disclosure; and do you solemnly swear or affirm that you will indict no person through malice, hatred, or ill will; and do you solemnly swear or affirm that you will not leave unindicted any person through fear, favor, or affection, or for any reward or hope thereof; and do you solemnly swear or affirm that in all your deliberations you will present the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, according to the best of your skill and understanding, as you shall answer unto God or under the penalties of perjury?"

Who do I see about the Probation Officer on the Limberios jury who listened to comments then said "I can't listen to this" as she revealed she was on the jury?

sash

I don't think revealing she was on the jury could be a violation. There's no way any juror could conceal their jury duty from their spouse, children or employer. Think the key to that is the word "proceedings." They have to swear not to reveal anything they see or hear while they are empaneled.

the office cat

One may reveal to spouse he/she is on the grand jury but not a specific one... having been on a grand jury four-month panel. AT NO TIME can a juror reveal over lunch that he/she is on such a jury as this. He/she simply abides by the oath and discounts anything heard at the meal. Otherwise it would be impossible not to overhear discussions. The Oath requires the juror make decisions based ONLY on what is heard DURING proceedings - without regard to TV, newspaper, family, gossip.
In this case the PROBATION OFFICER simply should not have joined in the conversation nor taken any notice. While you may consider it a small thing, less has been used to nullify a jury decision.

holysee

Take it up with sheriff overmyer or prosecutor stierwalt

Babo

Wow...I'd laugh hard if this matter was not serious. It's usually not the first crimes that trip people up but the cover up or obstruction of justice that follows.

Per her usual role: Kristina Smith "watchdog reporter" for the Fremont News Messenger and Port Clinton News Herald has written a PR piece defending allegedly corrupt public officials and what increasingly appears to be a text book example of "How to Fix a Criminal Investigation and or Prosecution to Protect Public Officials, Lawyers, and/or Their Associates".

Poor Traci Overmyer, she just couldn't help herself. Runs to friendly reporter/lap dog Kristina to explain the "integrity of the process" and that process itself turns out to be corrupt as he##. There are so many violations of law in the out-sourcing of a fundamental duty of a court to a private vendor without bid, contract etc that it's hard to know where to begin. Contract steering, jury tampering, obstruction of justice and that doesn't begin to address the fact that the retired visiting judge didn't have any lawful right to supervise the grand jury in the first place.

Of course the toothless "watchdog" reporter has no idea that she has published the local equivalent of the Watergate break in that ought to unravel the entire conspiracy to obstruct a grand jury investigation. There's also the "minor" problem that every criminal defendant may be able to question the legitimacy of their indictments

Keep publishing those PR pieces KS just like you did for former Ottawa County Sheriff Bratton and the rest of Ottawa County officials who will hopefully follow him into a federal court room someday

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