Kasich avoiding petition

Governor declines comment on drive to oust Sandusky County prosecutor and sheriff
Tom Jackson
May 10, 2014

 

Gov. John Kasich has shown little interest so far in a petition drive asking him to remove two Sandusky County officials.

More than 1,200 people have signed the "Stand Up for Justice and Accountability in Sandusky County Campaign" petition at Change.org, which asks the governor to remove Sandusky County sheriff Kyle Overmyer and county prosecutor Tom Stierwalt from office.

Read the petition

Citing Ohio Revised Code 3.07 and ORC 3.08, the petition asks the governor to file a complaint in Common Pleas Court to have the two removed. The statutes allow the governor to remove public officials for "misconduct in office."

The petition supporters have cited the ongoing controversy over how Overmyer and Stierwalt handled the investigation into the shooting death of Jake Limberios in 2012 and the death of Craig Burdine, who died at the Sandusky County jail on Aug. 11, 2007.

Sheriff's deputies allowed evidence to be detroyed during the Limberios investigation. Sandusky County coroner John Wukie ruled his death a suicide, although that was later found to be incorrect. 

The sheriff's office and Fremont police refused to conduct a criminal investigation after Burdine died at the jail. The officers and jail guards involved all provided written statements that Burdine was being combative when they brought him to the jail, but all the video surviellance from police cruisers and the jail appear to show he was barely conscious.

Burdine was handcuffed and shackled when an officer shocked him with a Taser. He died after a jail guard used a chokehold on him, according to Dr. Michael Baden, a forensic pathologist who reviewed the autopsy, the video footage and witness statements. 

Christine Wiedle, administrator of the Justice 4 Jake and Ella Facebook page, said the goal is to obtain between 4,500 and 5,000 signatures before formally presenting the petition to Kasich.

"We're not witch hunters. We're justice seekers," Wiedle said.

It was visiting Judge Dale Crawford who suggested there was a witch hunt after it was discovered that a grand jury he oversaw was improperly seated before hearing evidence from Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine's office into the 2012 death of Jacob Limberios. DeWine was appointed to conduct the investigation in June 2013 after it was determined local officials had conflicts continuing to investigate it.

Crawford made the statements in a highly unusual news conference he called last month after DeWine asked him to affirm that grand jury's findings despite the violations. 

Eric Burdine, Craig Burdine's brother, said his family hopes to use the governor's race and the attorney general's race this year to focus attention on the Burdine case and the plights other families have suffered at the hands of local county officials. 

Kasich, a Republican, faces a challenge from Democratic nominee Ed FitzGerald. DeWine, whose office will begin presenting evidence on the Burdine case to a Sandusky County grand jury on Tuesday, has been challenged by Democrat David Pepper.

The Justice for Jake & Ella group now includes the Burdines, the family of Isabel Cordle, who was killed in January 1988, and a woman who has said Fremont police refused to pursue criminal charges against a man who raped her. Its Facebook page has more than 19,000 followers. 

Through a spokesman, Kasich declined a request for an interview about the petition.

The spokesman, Rob Nichols, said there are normal channels for getting rid of local officials who are not doing their jobs.

“If people are unhappy with any local elected official, then they should hold him or her accountable on Election Day. This is why have elections," Nichols said.

Overmyer was appointed sheriff in 2008 after the sudden death of Sheriff David Gangwer. Overmyer was elected in 2012 but had no opponent in that race. 

Stierwalt was first elected in 2000. He was re-elected in 2012, defeating a challenge from Timothy Braun. 

If they choose to seek re-election, both would go before the voters in 2016. 

Stierwalt and Overmyer did not return telephone calls seeking comment. Stierwalt's staff said he was busy with a trial Thursday and Friday.

Residents who signed the pitition have left numerous comments with their e-signatures.

"I lose my job if I don't do it right," a Fremont man wrote when he signed the petition. "Badges shouldn't void that rule so my reason is common sense."

"Accountability," wrote another, who is from Oak Harbor.

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The Register has reported the difficulties numerous families have experienced with Sandusky County officials and has discussed those concerns with Attorney General DeWine in detail, asking questions families have raised. Click on the links below to read more. 
 

• Sexploited jail inmate

 

Comments

Blue.Streaker

Everyone who does not agree with the Register on this matter is either stupid or crooked, right? So far, not a single elected official has stood up with you, so they're ALL just a bunch of crooks, right?

I'll hazard a guess. Just keep going up the ladder. Go to Sherrod Brown on the left and to Rob Portman on the right; neither will get involved, ergo, they are both crooks. Take it to the FBI; go straight to FBI HQ in WDC; take a petition signed by thousands; you'll find the FBI, ultimately, will not give a rat's patootie. Try the Pope. Try Vladimer Putin.

Ultimately the truth will slowly dawn on you. You are a lot of decent people, but you watch too much TV. The good guy doesn't always wear a white hat; life is more complicated than separating goats from sheep.

And then the ultimate truth......you've all been used as pawns to sell newspapers and increase ad revenues.

That is all.

FalconBall

Interesting a signer from Oak Harbor left a comment. Oak Harbor is in Ottawa County last time I checked but I suppose this could be a mailing or rural address. I will be interested to see if there will be any viable opponents when these two men go up for re-election.

sandman312

So people from surrounding counties cant have an opinion on this? Why is the SR allowed to report on it then? Fremont has their own paper.

FalconBall

I think those of us in rural areas resent having outsiders tell us what to do. IF he runs again many will vote for him because the SR is all over him. On the other hand the election process will take care.

sandman312

Overmeyer is not planning to run for re-election. Source: deputy from Sandusky County.

No offense, but 1,200 people is not a lot. I am not a Kasich fan and even I agree he should not pursue this. Ohio coroner guidelines stipulate that if a person knew the potential fatal consequence of their actions (putting a gun to their head) it CAN be ruled a suicide. Was the investigation handled as well as it could have been? No. Ultimately that will never change what happened. I am sorry for the family's loss but time to move on.

my oh my

It is like trying to throw a noodle at a wall and see if it sticks and it will be done and overwith and nothing will change. Let's move on...

Julie R.

That Sandusky County prosecutor Stierwalt sounds like a real snake. Him and his buddy Overmeyer should have been kicked to the curb a long time. OHIO better get busy and start kicking these visiting retired fix-it-judges like Dale Crawford to the curb, too.

Steve P

Yet another example of the Register once again recycling the same old story line in an attempt to be relevant and increase their sagging circulation. Researched the use of the law, could not find any recent governor using this law to remove another public official of either political party.

Babo

The law is on the books for a reason and the lack of its use does not mean it is invalid. Instead it indicates to me that government has become unresponsive and an end unto itself; forgetting that it derives its power from the consent of the governed.

Ralph J.

STOP IT NOW WITH THE BS!

NOBODY IN OHIO GIVES A S!IT!!

STOP WASTING TIME AND MONEY ON SIGNS AND LAWYERS!!

GET THE FEDS NOW!!