Rule of law

Register
Jan 23, 2014
The “rule of law” also known as nomocracy, refers to the influence and authority of law within a society. As a concept it implies every citizen is subject to the law.

The United Nations defines the rule as: a principle of governance in which all persons, institutions and entities, public and private, including the state itself, are accountable to laws that are publicly promulgated, equally enforced and independently adjudicated and which are consistent with international human rights norms and standards.

Unfortunately for citizens of northern Ohio the rule of law, as applied, has no jurisdiction here.

How many times have we witnessed law enforcement here in Erie County and surrounding areas commit crimes and escape prosecution to the fullest extent of the law?

At this point we have seen it all, from the theft of Girl Scout Cookies in 1992, to the sexual abuse of a 15-year-old girl participating in a cop ride-along program in 2003, to the current adventures of Ohio State Highway Patrol trooper Ricky Vitte Jr. giving an adolescent boy a hands-on lesson in masturbating.

Does the public get the same deferential treatment in the criminal justice system? No. Courts nonchalantly dispense merciless sentences on non-privileged citizens accused of similar crimes?

In the recent incident involving trooper Vitte, Sandusky County prosecutor Tom Stierwalt chose not to seek an indictment knowing Vitte has a history of violence and inappropriate behavior toward women and children.

What is the message Stierwalt is sending by not pursuing charges on Vitte?

If you had a history of bullying your family, teaching young boys how to masturbate and fleeing the local sheriff department in your employer’s company vehicle, would you still have your job let alone your freedom?

When was the last time you opened up your Register and read of an average citizen leading police on a chase reaching speeds of 60 mph remaining free at the conclusion of the peril?

Theodore Roosevelt was quoted saying “No man is above the law and no man is below it; nor do we ask any man’s permission when we ask him to obey it”

At what cost do we slap the wrist of those hired to uphold and enforce the law? Is not a crime committed by a person in a trusted position to serve and protect even more egrigous?

When an officer of the law violates the law, they should, at the very least, receive the same crime and punishment routinely dished out to non-law enforcement people.

Does the public standing, occupation, or any other variable of an offender lessen the effect a crime has on a victim? If not, every crime committed should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law regardless of who the offender may be.

There is something solemn about being a cop. After all, these are the men and women we rely upon to safeguard our friends, family and neighbors. We campaign our cops to our children as exemplary public servants to be trusted with their very lives.

Some would say a “community betrayal specification” to enhance the degree of the crime is necessary and such behavior from officers of the law compromises public opinion of the judicial system.

What happens when we view our cops as crooks? Does a raid become a home invasion, does an arrest become a kidnapping, does a bond become a ransom, does an inmate become a hostage?

The prevailing law of the land can only thrive if its integrity is beyond question and its consequences are administered indiscriminately. The very concept of law demands it.

Comments

Sandusksquach

There's always been the idea that LE should be given the benefit of the doubt. Google is diminishing that notion daily.

fiddledee

I wonder who really wrote this article.

PAD4BYU's picture
PAD4BYU

I must say i am impressed by your articles considering who you was as a kid who comes from a law enforcement household! Proud of you bruh!

Sandusksquach

Is that Marge Schott?

Onemanforce

First off Damon: the Girl Scout cookie thing happened a very long time ago and trust me, it did not go unpunished. Second: the ride along girl incident did not go unpunished and that officer did time, plus he is no longer in LE. And third: that trooper does not work Erie County. So don't compare our fine LE officers here to the scum from other jurisdictions. Get it right!!

Sandusksquach

Taco Bell? Taco Bell .... ZZZ

richrs

Didn't take Perkins long tocan her, and unlike Sandusky she won't be getting her job back.

richrs

Double

santown419

How is this crap after all his father was a SPD officer. People come on here and act like SPD is perfect. Where did he say all cops are bad? You are so quick to jump down his throat for something he saw first hand get over yourself.

Onemanforce

Who says I was only referring to SPD? And oh! I'm sorry, I forgot: ALL children of law enforcement LOVE the law and are law abiding citizens and never stray from good and never fall from grace (read with copious amounts of sarcasm). I never said Damon was putting all LE in the same category. I said the actions of the few bad ones give the hundreds of good ones a bad name. So, over myself have I gotten? Over thyself, thou shall get.

KURTje

Thanks S.R.for paying attention. We want Ricky gone.

Contango

Why be surprised?

This disregard for the rule of law stems from the highest reaches of govt., where the current Executive branch of the U.S. chooses which laws to enforce, which to bend to it's satisfaction and which to totally ignore.

SPEEDY GONZALEZ

THE POLICE ARE "NOT" OUR FRIENDS! WHEN YOU HAVE OFFICERS WHO ARE SWORN TO UPHOLD THE CONSTITUTION OF THE U.S. WHICH IS THE LAW OF THE LAND, AND THEN TRY TO DENY CITIZENS THEIR RIGHTS WE HAVE A PROBLEM. VERY FEW POLICEMEN KNOW THAT WE HAVE THE RIGHT TO OPEN CARRY, TO VIDEO RECORD ON PUBLIC PROPERTY, OR REFUSE TO LET THEM ADMINISTER ILLEGAL SEARCHES AND SEIZURES AT ROADSIDE SOBRIETY CHECKPOINTS. JUST A FEW OF THE RIGHTS WE HAVE THAT THEY DO NOT WANT US TO KNOW ABOUT, BECAUSE THEY WANT TO INTIMIDATE US TO LET THEM DO THESE THINGS.

BDupler

I clicked on this thinking that I was going to see something completely different, much like Mr. Newell's other columns.

I have to agree with everything Mr. Newell says here. If you take a honest look at the points he makes, he is correct.

SamAdams

I don't see that anybody is suggesting that all LEOs are good or bad, just that those who ARE bad should be subject to the same laws and punishments meted out to the rest of us.

It's easy to condemn that sort of cronyism or favoritism. It's a lot harder to fix the problem when it's systemic, and goes from the very top on down. How many laws does Congress pass from which its members are exempt? How many laws have politicians broken that weren't enforced, or were selectively enforced (typically with political motivation rather than any notion of justice)?

On the other hand, that kind of problem gets fixed by acting on it. The "fixes" need to start here and now, folks! Demand responsibility from your local courts and LEOs. Cast your individual votes, no matter the election or its level, accordingly. If prosecutors, commanding officers, and legislatures won't do anything, then YOU DO IT! We want to castigate the prosecutor for not doing his job. How about voters doing THEIRS, eh?

SPEEDY GONZALEZ

I UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU MEAN SAM ADAMS, BUT HAVE TO DISAGREE WITH THE FACT THAT WE CAN CHANGE THINGS BY VOTING SOMEONE IN WHO IS UPSTANDING AND HAS INTEGRITY. IT'S A SLIPPERY SLOPE AND JUST LIKE GOING DOWN THE RIVER OVER NIAGARA FALLS AND TRYING TO SWIM BACKWARDS. IT AINT GONNA HAPPEN. WHATS DONE IS DONE AND THE FOOLS IN OUR GOVERNMENT ARE COMFORTABLE WHERE THEY ARE. THE WRECKING BALL IS IN MOTION AND ARE WE GOING TO SEND ONE OR TWO GUYS TO STAND IN FRONT OF IT? NOT ME JACK! SAY YOUR PRAYERS AND HOPE GOD COUNTS YOU WOTHY TO BE WITH HIM SOMEDAY.

SamAdams

Speedy, if that's your attitude, then you are part of the problem. Apathy (and avarice) is how we got where we are!

I agree that your lone vote (or mine) likely isn't all that material in the presidential election, or even a gubernatorial race. But local elections have been won and lost by a mere handful of votes! Don't like the county prosecutor? Vote for somebody else! Cops aren't doing the job? Show up at City Commission meetings! The squeaky wheel gets the grease. BE THAT SQUEAKY WHEEL!

If I took your advice, I'd hide behind locked doors and pray nobody notices me while I wait to die. I may as well tip over and stop breathing now if that's all life has to offer!

P.S. Yes. One or two guys WILL stand in front of the wrecking ball, and they'll do it WILLINGLY. And some of them will survive to bring others onto the front lines. We just have to get them in place. Heroes aren't born. They're MADE. They're made of circumstance and opportunity, and men (and women) with a conscience and a spine will grab it. The least even a coward can do is help provide those things for them!

Nemesis

Wake up, Sam. If voting could change anything, it would be illegal.

"Democracy is two wolves and a sheep voting on what's for dinner."
-Ben Franklin

Babo

LOL, Excellent quote from one of my favorite men.

Would also add you can't vote against a county prosecutor or any office holder with no competition and being a squeaky wheel about official misconduct will likely get you arrested or eaten alive.