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. 

*

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

think4myself

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

Ctwhalers

Think4myself register keeps getting awards for there great reporting how about Fremont messenger? The only ones blind are the ones who are to blind to see what is going on. Or part of the problem. I have heard of other newspapers say what a great job they are doing covering theses stories. I have even heard tv stations say the same thing. J4J crew says thanks for all the great comnents and for supporting a great cause. Let think4myself and others make there comments we know the real truth. Justice will prevail.

think4myself

Of course they say thanks. They will cling to any false hope they can get. The longer this witch hunt goes on won't change the fact Jakes choices resulted in his own death. Personal responsibility!
It's sad but it's true. Put your pitchforks away townspeople and see that this paper is using you to sell papers and ad space!
I have a happy life and I am wasting no more time on this. I suggest you all do the same.

Julie R.

think4myself saying "this paper is just using you to sell papers and ad space" is a cop-out. It's the same as the idiots that tell victims of injustice to get over it and move on.

DGMutley

+1

Truth2u

WOW, the little newspaper, Sandusky Register, is roaring BIG TIME! I can honestly say I questioned the awards, but with articles like this I have to admit I was wrong. Well done Register, well done. This is the type of reporting that keeps our freedoms from being taken away from those who are suppose to SERVE! Without a Free and Responsible press, society has no protection from Government, the press is more powerful than a gun if used correctly.

Reading the previous Register reports, the one on Lee Naus's 'death' disturbs me greatly, the Coroner ruled crushing from the trash truck but there were witnesses that saw people throw him into a dumpster, and as the Register reported and won an award from its report, the Coroner often rules as the police want them to rule.

If the Register puts on more staff I wouldn't be surprised that there is just as much if not more detective reporting to do in this and Huron county. The judges and the judicial system along with law enforcement is no longer accountable, their actions are more like Kings, Caesars and the SS and KGB than representatives and servants to society.

think4myself

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

Hopperthe2nd

Thought you were not wasting anymore time on this?

the office cat

Can the sheriff be more wrong in defending his sister?
The Board of Elections sends ALL voter names to the Clerk of Courts. The Common Pleas Court Administrator puts the name into the computer, utilizing the RockWare software that came on-line in 2010 to randomly develop a list of voters to be in several jury pools each trimester.
It's all done in the Court Administrator's office in the courthouse. no names go to Bellevue.
Did anybody think to call Common Pleas please and ask how juries are selected?

Julie R.

Considering how the prosecutor of a county oversees all county public offices ~ auditor, recorder, treasurer, and clerk of court ~ hard to believe this Clerk of Court Tracey Overmyer would enter into a joint business venture with an outside computer software firm without clearing it first with the Sandusky County prosecutor and even the common pleas court judges. In addition, O.R.C. 2310.10(E) states when the sheriff is interested in a cause of any court of record, only the jury commissioners shall summon the jurors.

Easy to see where all trails lead back to in corrupt Sandusky County!

Formerly from N...

FREMONT — The judge who presided over assembling the special grand jury in the Jacob Limberios case said he does not believe allegations that the jury was tainted are valid.

“It makes no sense to me where the complaint is,” visiting Judge Dale Crawford of Columbus said in an exclusive interview with The News-Messenger. “If you find out what the problem is, I’d love to know.”

The Sandusky Register has alleged that the grand jury that reviewed the criminal investigation into the death of Jacob Limberios was not convened according to Ohio law.

The grand jury determined in November that Limberios, 19, of Castalia, accidentally shot himself in the head while partying with three people on March 2, 2012, at a rural home near Clyde. The jurors declined to charge anyone with a crime.

The Ohio Attorney General’s Office believes the grand jury was assembled properly but asked Crawford to take a second look, according to Sandusky County Common Pleas Court records. Crawford said he plans to review the procedures, but he doesn’t know when he’ll get to it.

“I’ve been very busy,” Crawford said. “Quite frankly, it’s not something that’s at the top of my list to be doing right now.

“I’m not in any hurry because nobody’s been indicted.”

Sandusky attorney Dan McGookey — who had represented the Limberios family until mid-January and is apparently representing them again — filed a motion requesting an extension of time to respond by Friday to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office motion to have Crawford review the grand jury procedures.

But McGookey does not have standing to challenge the grand jury, Crawford said.

Nonetheless, Crawford said he will still review what McGookey submits.

The only people who have standing to challenge a grand jury are the prosecutor and anyone the jurors indicted, Crawford said.

And no indictments were returned, making the allegations moot, he said.

The Attorney General’s Office found the only issue with the grand jury process was a newspaper advertisement was not published, said Dan Tierney, spokesman for the Attorney General’s Office.

“That’s a proceeding that means nothing,” Crawford said.

McGookey and Limberios’ parents, Mike and Shannon Limberios of Castalia, were not available for comment Tuesday evening.

Sandusky County Clerk of Courts Tracy Overmyer said she completed the process to assemble the grand jury correctly.

She said she has been accused of failing to release records regarding the grand jury, but she said some or all of the records are sealed. She was waiting on a legal opinion from the Sandusky County Prosecutor’s Office to determine what she could legally release.

Grand jury proceedings are secret, and the only information that becomes public is whether or not an indictment has been released, Crawford said. The names of the jurors are sealed.

“That’s the norm,” Crawford said.

Additionally, someone attempted to obtain the names of the grand jurors in the Limberios case, Tierney said. A person claiming to be calling for Attorney General’s Office special prosecutor Marianne Hemmeter asked the clerk of court’s office and attempted to get a list of the jurors, Tierney said.

No one from the Attorney General’s Office made the request, and the clerk’s office did not release the information, Tierney said. The incident has been reported to the court.

The Attorney General’s Office became involved last summer, something Limberios’ parents and McGookey wanted to see happen after they alleged Sandusky County botched the case.

The night Limberios died, witnesses said he was holding his gun by his head before it went off. Sandusky County Coroner Dr. John Wukie ruled the death a suicide without going to the scene or examining the body.

During their investigation, agents from the Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation — an arm of the Ohio Attorney General’s Office — also found a defect in Limberios’ gun that caused it to fire sometimes without the trigger being fully pulled.

The Limberioses and McGookey had declined to comment in January on why McGookey was no longer representing them. But last week, he filed the request for an extension of time to respond on their behalf.

In a Jan. 16 email to Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, Shannon Limberios said she and her husband were pleased with the investigation the Attorney General’s Office did, a statement that contradicted McGookey’s assessment of the inquiry.

“We believe that you left no stone unturned and were very thorough in dealing with the information that was available to you,” Shannon Limberios wrote.

“Thank you for all you have done, your professionalism and help in finding out what happened to our son.”

Babo

Dale Crawford is not a legally qualified judge in the State of Ohio and he does not have jurisdiction to review a Grand Jury in Sandusky County, Ohio. See US Constitution Art. 6 Clauses 2 and 3. Ohio Constitution Art 15 Section 7 (No oath equals no authority)
Criminal Rule 2 (E) Retired judges are not listed as having authority to preside in criminal cases, and the statutes and rules governing grand juries.

Any legal actions undertaken in violation of the Constitution or statutory law are void or a nullity. The Grand Jury proceedings could be declared void under federal law through a Declaratory judgment proceeding in Federal Court.

Formerly from N...

Sharing an article from a real newspaper since Im sure you wont see this in this piece of garbage.
headline reads:
Judge: No sense to complaint
Newspaper ad 'means nothing'

Babo

Could you please direct me to the record of Dale Crawford's oath of office in Sandusky County, his bond in Sandusky County, and his commission to act as a Sandusky County Common Pleas Court Judge.

Again this is a textbook example of how the people's judicial system in this state has been co-opted by politicians and privatized to benefit the connected by controlling criminal investigations and prosecutions to obtain desired outcomes.

Formerly from N...

You people are hopeless. You only hear what you want to hear and anything else is a conspiracy. Pitiful.
Blah blah blah blah blah blah is all you hear unless it fits your agenda.
Good luck

Babo

And good luck with your job at the AG's office.

Common Tater

The Common Pleas court started using Rockware in 2010, but County Courts I and II used software from Henschen and Associates. As you can see from their website http://www.henschen.com/, Henschen provides court software to numerous courts throughout Ohio. They are also members of the BBB and have been in business since 1987.

So, why did Tracy recently stop using it in County Courts I and II? Because when she was appointed clerk, she simply could not figure out how to use it. Instead she is now trusting a former car dealer with the the county's confidential records.

If Rockware was developed in a joint effort with Sandusky County Court, this can only mean one thing. They are the first and only court that is using the software. It is essentially being tested in the Sandusky County Court.

Why is the clerk allowing the county to be a test site for ANY software?

With Tracy Overmyer's lack of knowledge about the Ohio Revised Code and Rockware's inexperience with court documentation and records ... I can only imagine how many mistakes are being made. With confidential information and records.

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