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