Grand jury vendor paid $324,000

Team Ray's website modified; 'joint venture' with clerk of courts changed to 'pet project,' reference to Ohio Attorney General removed
Register
Mar 28, 2014

Update, March 28: It's a "joint venture" with clerk of courts Tracy Overmyer, or it's a "pet project" they wanted to build together.

Either way, a vendor used by Sandusky County Common Pleas Court has been paid more than $324,000 in less than four years since Overmyer's appointment to the court clerk's job in January 2010, according to records from the Sandusky County Auditor. 

See the paid invoice listing

And Team Ray Technologies' Rockware Justice division also got called out by Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine on Monday for "deceptive advertising" and for allegedly making "false claims" at its website about its services. 

Click here to read letter from Ohio AG

"The Ohio Attorney General requests that Rockware Justice and Team Ray Technologies LLC immediately cease from engaging in deceptive acts and practices by representing they have sponsorship, approval or affiliation with the Ohio Attorney General's Office," Sandy Lynesky, the AG's chief in the consumer protection unit, wrote Monday. 

Get Sunday's Register for more about the services Team Ray provides Sandusky County Common Pleas Court. Click here for the ePaper, for home delivery or buy the Register at a newsstand near you.  

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Original post, March 25: The software vendor that claimed to have a "joint venture" with Sandusky County clerk of courts to subcontract grand jury work and other administrative functions of the clerk's office changed its website overnight Monday. 

The modifications came after the Register reported objections expressed by a spokesman for Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine to statements on the website suggesting it had an affiliation with the AG's office.

Click here to read that previous article

References to a "joint venture" with Sandusky County clerk of courts Tracy Overmyer, and a reference the state AG's office both were removed. The modified version reads:

"Rockware Justice was started as a pet project in conjuction with the Sandusky County Clerk of Courts in 2004.  The vision was to develop a case management software system utilizing the latest in technology that did not have fixed maintenance costs that increase every year like other case management systems.  The software suite includes case management, judicial calendar, and cash book managing segments.  After years of research and development, the system was successfully launched in April 2010." (See link to modified version)

The version of the statement prior to the objection from Ohio AG spokesman Dan Tierney reported by the Register on Monday read this way:

"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. Additional functionality is being added to integrate Rockware Justice with the Attorney General of Ohio and other state, local and third party agencies." (See link to original version)

Tierney said Monday that Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and the AG's office had no affiliation with Team Ray or Rockware Justice, which is based in Bellevue.

"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. The Register asked Tierney to provide copies of those letters when they were sent. 

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. Overmyer has not responded to a public records request from the Register inquiring about the nature of her relationship with Rockware Justice.

The Register asked for any contracts, requests for proposals or other documentation that might exist that would provide a more complete understanding of that arrangement. The Register also asked for information about how the Rockwell programming is designed to meet the requirements of state law regarding grand jury selection.

On Feb. 18, the Register sent Overmyer a public records request for documents required by the Ohio Revised Code related to the grand jury selection process of the investigation into the death of Jacob Limberios on March 2, 2012. Overmyer initially responded that those documents were sealed under a secret gag order issued by the presiding judge, visiting judge Dale Crawford. She later told the AG's office she did not have any documents responsive to the request. 

The Register sent an additional request to Overmyer this morning, and also asked Ryan Ray, CEO of Team Ray Technologies/Rockware, to provide more information about the relationship between his company and Overmyer.

DeWine filed a court motion last week asking Crawford to affirm the grand jury's fndings despite "procedural" mistakes he said might have occurred in the selection process, referring to an apparent violation of the requirements in the Ohio Revised Code. DeWine filed the motion after the Register reported Overmyer's inability to provide the required documentation. 

The grand jury no-billed the investigation on Nov. 20, opting against filing any criminal indictments. DeWine said earlier this month he did not believe any grand jury would have returned indictments based on the evidence presented by his office. It's not clear why DeWine opted for a grand jury if there was no evidence of criminal wrongdoing. 

DeWine's investigation determined Jacob Limberios accidentally shot himself, in contrast to the findings of Sheriff Kyle Overmyer, Tracy Overmyer's brother, and Sandusky County Coroner John Wukie, who ruled his death an accidental suicide. DeWine also determined that evidence was destroyed in the hours immediately after Jake was killed, and other evidence was not collected by Sheriff Overmyer, who was assisted at the home where Jake was killed by Captain Michael Meggitt, Tracy Overmyer's husband.

Read the petition for removal of prosecutor, sheriff

Wukie, who did not investigate Jake's death, refused to order an autopsy after he died. Wukie also has refused to correct the death certificate to reflect the findings of DeWine's investigation, insisting Jake's death was a suicide despite multiple witness statements that it was an accident and the suggestions from DeWine and others he was incorrect in his original suicide ruling. 

Wukie refuses to respond to inquiries from the Register or return phone messages, and his attorney, Dean Henry, refuses to provide a working email address for Wukie. 

Click here to read related articles

Comments

holysee

Keep up the good work SR!

holysee

AGREE! Keep up the good work SR!

MiddleRight

Maybe the Register can find out how much the county paid them for 6 years of developing software.

Maybe the county should have purchased existing software.

Matt Westerhold

The Register already made a public records request this morning to Sandusky County Auditor William Farrell for that information. Thanks for the suggestion MiddleRight.

DickTracey

Matt, I hope you graphic designers are busy working on the "Six Degrees of Sandusky County" chart! Like the investigative reporter did for the Steubenville rape case, since the whole town was connected to the football team and had reasons to cover it up.

http://www.thewire.com/national/...

Now you can add Team Ray! I can't wait to see how they are "connected".

the office cat

But did anyone talk to the Common Pleas Court Administrators who actually directs the jury selection process?

Did anyone learn that TeamRay etc. does not pick jurors?

Did anyone learn that the Court uses software developed by RockWare but that RockWare plays no role in selection?

Did anyone learn that the 41,000+ names provided by the BOE each trimester is put in the computer in the Courthouse and utilizes the software program to randomly select approximately 2,000 jurors each trimester...including 75 GRAND JURORS.

Peninsula Pundit

And to do that costs $81,000a year?
I'll do it by hand for that kind of money!

sash

Jury selection seems to be only a very small part. I would want to see what other counties pay when they outsource IT support and software development before getting too excited.

Babo

There was no reason to pay anybody to develop court software, let alone over $300,000 to a local company with no expertise in this specialized area. Court software has been around for over 15 years.

Also, was this software approved for use by the Supreme Court of Ohio?
I may be mistaken but I think all court related software must be approved by the Supreme Court.

Finally, where was and is Sandusky County Administrator Warren Brown
during all of these mistakes in Sandusky County offices? He was the former Clerk of Court and ought to understand the importance of following the law procedurally and contractually. If anyone should be sympathetic to families who have lost loved ones and look to government to provide answers and accountability; County Administrator Brown is that person. How does he explain the actions and lack of accountability of the County in the Limberios, Burdine, Jones, Naus, sexploited inmate, and other cases?

the office cat

"Rockware Justice was started as a pet project in conjuction with the Sandusky County Clerk of Courts in 2004."

That would have been under then-Clerk of Courts Warren Brown, current County CEO with Commisioners (a post he designed) and presently a Primary Election candidate for SANDUSKY COUNTY AUDITOR - the county's money watchdog.

Matt Westerhold

Thanks Office Cat. The Register is currently working on five different news articles about these topics. If you read the documents the information on which you're comment already has been made available to readers in the documents linkjed in this news coverage. It also is one of the followup articles being developed. This has to taken one step at a time, and if you're expecting "all the facts" you're going to be disappointed. The Register presents the information we are able to gather from public documents supplied by public officials, who at times are reluctant to be forthcoming with those public documents and with explanations or answers to the legitimate questions being asked. Information about Mr. Brown was made available to us in the linked documents on Friday at 3:30 p.m. Today is Sunday. You might consider being a bit more patient, but we do appreciate that you, and others, are following this coverage as it is being developed. 

Babo

This story just keeps getting better and better in terms of public officials' and their pals' continuing missteps and alleged obstruction of justice. As they say the horse is already out of the barn. The grand jury process was corrupted. Now it's just about determining the extent of that corruption and all the players

By changing prior published statements concerning the Clerk of Courts and Team Ray's relationship and roles; team Ray has admitted those statements were false and against its interests. That is additional evidence and possibly an admission by yet another potential co conspirator of a conspiracy to obstruct justice by manipulation of grand juries in Sandusky County.

Also, county prosecutor Stierwalt (counsel to the county and county officials on all legal matters) and Sheriff Overmyer (Chief Law enforcement officer in the county) are nowhere to be found while these illegal contracts and alleged criminal acts including undermining of the grand jury process occurred. Yet another charge in a Petition to Remove Stierwalt and Sheriff Overmyer for misconduct in office and evidence that they too may have had an alleged role in obstructing justice.

More popcorn please!

the office cat

Sheriff Overmyer explained how his sister Tracy Overmyer's office conducts jury instruction. He said, roughly, the Board of Elections screens names and sends them to the court.
Of course that's entirely WRONG. The BOE sends ALL registered voters names to the Clerk. The Court Admnistrator puts them in the computer which kicks out about 2,000 names needed for ALL juries in the county.
But I guess the SR doesn't want to report ALL the facts.

Matt Westerhold

Please see the reply above, office cat.

DickTracey

Sorry Team Ray, but you know what happens when you sleep with dogs!

For you youngsters, the answer is "you wake up with fleas" or in this case, "the Register on your a$s!

DickTracey

This is awesome! Think of the possibilities! You have on off-site company design you software to pick your jury pools. It sounds so fair and hands off. Imagine the possibilities!

The sheriff, prosecutor or lawyers can now request what they want in their jury. "I need white women over 40, that don't own guns, that love cats, that voted democrat and make less than $22,000 a year."

We have designer babies, now, ladies and gentlemen we have Desinger Jury's!

holysee

+1

the office cat

You have to use somebody's software to sort from 41,000+ registered voters. Is it unusual to work with software companies to develop software that eventually will be marketed to other buyers?
Developing the software began in 2004 under Warren Brown and didn't come into fruition until 2010.
Focus on the real story - why did the judge seal the jury records?

sash

Grand Jury proceedings are secret by law. The only question would be if the process of jury selection was sealed.

Darkhorse

How legal is it for a design firm to be picking a jury? Wow, and no one caught onto this until now? What happened to the standard or don't all courts have the same standard to pick a jury?

Babo

Article in News Mess within which Sheriff Overmyer claims under staffing in the jail contributed to Inmate's suicide. Reads like he's asking to be sued.

holysee

And where is the cacophony of Sandco supporters complaining about the tenacity of the Sandusky Register doing it's job? I assume they are at Whitey's reading the news mess paper and eating their grease.

Peninsula Pundit

He's referring to you, FremontAlice.

lmalley77

Matt Westerhold, I am ELATED that you did NOT back down and did NOT shut up and did NOT give up when alot of people were on here telling you to!!! I have ALWAYS asked that nobody give up on this case, and every little piece that gets unraveled just adds more fuel to the fire of the miscarriage of justice that Jake and alot of others did not deserve!!! I don't know about some people, but I didn't notice a strong sense of others feeling the same as I do until you broke the story of the child porn patrol officer! Since then, and since the stories and follow ups that have followed, more and more people are beginning to see what is actually going on in Sandusky County!!!! So, thank you Matt Westerhold!!!!!

holysee

+1

holysee

Hear hear!

slightthroat212

a great big OOOOOPPPPPSSSSS here is in order for the county clerk, team ray and all the way up the ladder. Good for you, Mr. Westerhold. Now where does THIS money trail lead. Always follow the money and the trail it to which it leads. It sure doesn't stop at the clerks office. What judge does it lead to now??????

sandusky2012

how many appeals will be made now knowing that the jury selection was tainted? sounds to me like a lot of felons should appeal their cases how much will that cost?

the office cat

Did anyone call the Common Pleas Court Administrator to ask how juries actually are selected - in light of the fact a new trimester of jurors was picked for the January-April term. 75 Grand Jury, 1,200 Common Pleas, 200 County Court, 30 Bellevue Municipal, XXX Fremont Municipal.
The Administrator gets the 41,000+ names of active and inactive voters from the BOE and - in the Sandusky County Courthouse - enters them into the County Computer which utilizes software developed by Rockware - they have been using a computer program nearly two decades to randomly select the required number.
It only takes a phone call....
Every trimester 75 grand jurors are drawn.

holysee

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