Brown County Prosecutor Jessica Little says she's being asked by citizens why she's not prosecuting Common Pleas Court Judge Scott Gusweiler.
Could these people be part of the Meranda crew that worked so hard to spread disinformation before endorsements a couple years ago about Gail DeClaire? Could these folks be people who are looking to get the Prosecutor to fall in line? Bottom line, Tina Meranda has screwed three offices in Brown County--Hers, Judge Gusweiler, and Prosecutor Little. All three are now tainted by this shameful display.
Look, I don't like Gusweiler's ALLEGED language, and think he should have kept his cool. I also think this whole thing could have been done better on both people's parts.
Also, I have not gotten a copy of the lawsuit yet as Eric Deters has NOT lived up to his promise of putting it on his website, though Editor Gates did say that the lawsuit is in the clerk of courts office as of the last Friday in March. I will have to see about getting a copy and checking out the "allegations."
Bottom line: Jessica Little knows the law. I will let Wayne's reporting of Prosecutor Little speak for itself:
Little said she's not filing charges because she does not believe Gusweiler is guilty of a criminal offense.
Concerning the case, Little said "I'm not on anyone's side here. I'm on the side of the law."
Meranda is alleging in her suit that Gusweiler intimidated her into giving up the keys.
Ohio Revised Code prohibits public officials from using the power of their office to intimidate others...but Little said that, in her opinion, the Judge did not break the law.
According to the complaint filed by Meranda, Gusweiler violated Ohio revised Code 2921.03, which covers criminal intimidation.
The complaint continues by claiming that Gusweiler is "civilly liable" to Meranda.
Little was a witness to the confrontation between Meranda and Gusweiler.
Little confirms that Gusweiler threatened Meranda with arrest, but said he did so in a lawful way.
"Ohio Revised Code gives a Judge power to punish someone in their presence", Little said.
In fact, Ohio Revised Code 2705.01 says "A court, or judge at chambers, may summarily punish a person guilty of misbehavior in the presence of or so near the court or judge as to obstruct the administration of justice."
The word "summarily" is important, because it is defined as "immediately" or "without notice".
According to Meranda's complaint, Gusweiler had given Meranda a court order demanding the keys and threatened her with arrest if she did not produce them.
If she had not done so, the legal argument could be made that she was not complying with the Judge's court order and was therefore 'obstructing the administration of justice" and could be found in contempt of court.
Additionally, Ohio Revised Code 2705.02 says that a person guilty of "disobedience of, or resistance to a lawful order of a court or officer" is guilty of contempt.
Once given the court order, a legal avenue appealing the court order to the Ohio 12th Circuit Court of Appeals was open to Meranda.
Concerning the lawsuit, Little said she has not been asked to assist Gusweiler to find an attorney as of yet.
As a defendant, Gusweiler is eligible to have an attorney paid for at county expense.
Now, we may not like the language used by Gusweiler, but it seems to me the law was followed in the particular instance that was first reported by the Press in this matter. I will have to look at the other alleged violations once I get my hands on the lawsuit and read it fully.
But, Tina Meranda appears bent on costing Gusweiler, the county, and the people of Brown County money because she didn't like what Gusweiler said or did. It appears that her ego is once again trampling on others, and that the bus is trying to mow down Gusweiler and now possibly Little. I wonder what the Republican party apparatus thinks of this whole mess? I know what I think.
So, the Clerk of Courts office, the Judge's office, and maybe even the Prosecutor's office will lose work hours because of this suit, and all that will be done will be to help someone's ego and pocketbook at the expense of the taxpayers. Way to think about the people!
4/5/2010 7pm Update
Here is a link from the News Democrat that has the pdf of the lawsuit.
My take continues to be that this is about pride, money, and hurt feelings and political and monetary opportunism. Is Gusweiler squeaky lily white clean in this? Nope. However, does it rise to this level of seriousness, a breach in the very division of labor and powers by law? Not so much. And I agree with other commenters. Stop attempting to smear Jessica Little as ignorant or not doing her job. Unlike her predecessor, she works a bunch of hours and tries to get things moving through the courts when there is cause.