DeWine defends record

Register
Jun 27, 2014

By Mike DeWine 
Ohio Attorney General
Special to the Register

In light of recent coverage, I feel it is important to set the record straight regarding recent investigations conducted by my office in Sandusky County. Baseless accusations have been reported questioning our motives in several cases, including the preposterous claim that the Ohio Attorney General’s Office has been part of a conspiracy to cover up wrongdoing by public officials. Not only are these implications both false and malicious, they clearly do not reflect our record of involvement regarding Craig Burdine, Jacob Limberios, Bryan Jones, and a Sandusky County jail inmate.

My office is currently investigating allegations of wrongdoing regarding the 2007 death of Craig Burdine.  In 2013, Sandusky County Prosecutor Tom Stierwalt requested that we investigate Burdine’s death after he was presented with allegations against public officials, determined the matter was never presented to a grand jury, and that he had a conflict of interest in conducting an investigation.  As a result, my office, through BCI, has conducted a thorough investigation of this case.  Our prosecutors are currently presenting our findings to a Sandusky County grand jury.

Prosecutors have a legal and ethical obligation to refrain from commenting or disclosing the content of what occurs in a grand jury. The Burdine case is no exception.  It is before an ongoing grand jury, and there will be an opportunity to review the investigatory record after the judicial process has concluded.

In 2013, Visiting Judge Dale Crawford appointed my office as special prosecutors to investigate the 2012 death of Jacob Limberios, whose family was concerned that his death was incorrectly declared a suicide. Here too, BCI conducted a thorough investigation, and our prosecutors presented the findings of that investigation to a Sandusky County grand jury. The grand jury concluded, contrary to the Coroner’s ruling, that Jacob Limberios’ death was not a suicide, but that he accidentally shot himself. As much as I would like Jacob Limberios’ death certificate changed to reflect the grand jury’s conclusion, we have informed both the Sandusky Register and the Limberios family on separate occasions that I have no authority to do so, either in statute or in our court appointment.

In 2012, Prosecutor Stierwalt requested that my office serve as special prosecutors to review allegations of wrongdoing earlier that year by Sandusky County jail staff against a female inmate. My office was not requested to conduct the initial investigation, which the Fremont Police Department handled.  Our special prosecutors reviewed the investigation and made the decision to present this matter to a Sandusky County grand jury. As the grand jury wrote in their public jail inspection report critical of the Sandusky County jail operation, “We do not like what happened at all, but it did not rise to the level of criminal conduct.”

BCI investigated the death of Bryan Jones prior to when I took office as Attorney General. However, after reviewing that investigation, I changed BCI policy to no longer accept cases where local authorities limited the investigative scope. When the requesting agency does not give us their full authority, or does not allow us to investigate everything surrounding a case, we no longer accept those cases.

For both ethical and legal reasons, my office is prohibited from allowing an ongoing criminal investigation to be used as a method by any party to enhance their separate civil litigation. This was an issue my office has had to navigate with each case we have assisted in Sandusky County.

The Sandusky Register has suggested my office should investigate public officials’ handling of cases cited by social media groups, such as matters involving Isabel Cordle, Lee Naus, Christina Fegley, Ricky Vitte, Gregory Montgomery, Mary Eberly, and Marquise Jones. The Ohio Attorney General’s Office has no oversight or authority in these cases absent a court order or request from local officials to investigate or prosecute.

My office’s special prosecutors have vigorously investigated more than 60 public corruption cases across Ohio. We have brought the indictments of a Republican state representative, Democratic county officeholders, current and former judges, sheriffs, police officers, attorneys, and the mayor of Ohio’s ninth largest city.    Our record of fighting public corruption speaks for itself.

*

Editor's note — We agree, the record speaks for itself: Two prior investigations by Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine presented to grand juries in Sandusky County involving suspected wrongdoing by local law enforcement officials resulted in no indictments. DeWine has been presenting evidence to a third grand jury since May 6 of his investigation into the 2007 death of Craig Burdine at the Sandusky County Jail. Burdine's family has said they fear DeWine is whitewashing the evidence in order to avoid returning criminal indictments against Sandusky County officials.

Update: U.S. Justice Department 'monitoring' DeWine's jailhouse death probe

Comments

Truth2u

Come on Matt, don't you know DeWine doesn't have time for all this? He's too busy pushing around little people who unknowingly owed money to Toledo University Hospital (who failed to provide all the requested invoices by ones lawyer before a lawsuit was filed. )After the settlement from the perpetrators DeWine sends demand letters of collection for invoices my lawyer never received! I can't imagine DeWine having even a hint of what justice is.

So lets give him his due credit, his office is VERY good at collections and threats but there isn't any money to be made by fighting for JUSTICE, that COSTS money!

All my dealings with his office make one feel like his personal Juanita Broaddrick.

Julian

Nobody cares, let it go

sandtown born a...

Most buckeyes want to know our AG is doing his job reguardless who the accused may be which doesn't seem to be the case.

Truth or Dare

The wheels on the so-called Justice Bus go round and round, round and round.

mamaC

DeWine only did this because it is election time is coming and is trying to "restore" his creditable track record. (Sarcasm)

Laughingatwttb

Doesn't matter what he does, he's not going to please everyone. Good job Mr. Dewine I'll be voting for you this year.

Babo

DeWine's opponent David Pepper is hammering DeWine's office on its cronyism (e.g. Schmenk, employed as a senior special advisor), pay to play aspects in obtaining contracts and jobs from the office (law firm donors obtain contracts to do work that DeWine should perform in house) and the lack of true statewide public integrity prosecutions.

IMO, Pepper has hit on the real issue: the fact that citizens have no recourse or no where to go in this state to request an independent investigation of state or county officials/law enforcement agents because the AG can't act unless requested to act by county officials who may be the subject of the investigation.

Percy Loveschnutt

Joe Citizen seems to support anything done in the name of personal security if it doesn't affect the way he conducts his regular affairs. We've sold out our electronic privacy in the name of national security. We've sold out our national reputation for doing good in the name of national security.

The Koch Brothers have purchased many people's ability to think for themselves; Fox News poisons this ability; the USSCt (Citizens United) adds to the poison; the NRA promotes the insanity in the name of liberty and phony patriotism.

The real problem with the Burdine's situation is people just don't care if it does not affect them directly. The Kochs, Fox News, and the NRA have been successful by convincing a whole lot of people that they, personally, are being short-changed.

The Sandusky Register had a chance to promote change and justice in Sandusky County. However, the SR has complained about so many perceived injustices that the people no longer care; what the SR has to say (particularly Matt) has become just irritating background noise. Matt has become the journalistic equivalent of "Mommy, Bobby looked bad at me!"

The Court of Public Opinion is not open to every perceived injustice; too bad.

Babo

"The Sandusky Register has suggested my office should investigate public officials’ handling of cases cited by social media groups, such as matters involving Isabel Cordle, Lee Naus, Christina Fegley, Ricky Vitte, Gregory Montgomery, Mary Eberly, and Marquise Jones. The Ohio Attorney General’s Office has no oversight or authority in these cases absent a court order or request from local officials to investigate or prosecute."

The last line from DeWine's letter sums of the problem in Ohio. Citizens cannot expect any independent investigation of allegations of county level public corruption because the AG's office cannot investigate anything unless the parties involved request his office to investigate. Thus, any investigation will be limited in scope and transparency, if one occurs at all because the targets of any proposed investigation have the ability to limit and undermine that investigation.

The SR can promote change and justice in not only Sandusky County but statewide by continuing to focus on the lack of redress against public corruption in Ohio and urging federal intervention and review. The SR can also urge the creation of a truly independent and transparent state wide public integrity unit in Ohio to which any citizen can complain of alleged public corruption and expect to receive an investigation in response that publicly examines the allegations to remedy this defect in Ohio law.

Sal Dali

Well put Babo!

Ralph J.

"The SR can promote change and justice in not only Sandusky County but statewide by continuing to focus on the lack of redress against public corruption in Ohio and urging federal intervention and review. The SR can also urge the creation of a truly independent and transparent state wide public integrity unit in Ohio to which any citizen can complain of alleged public corruption and expect to receive an investigation in response that publicly examines the allegations to remedy this defect in Ohio law." LIKE!