Dennis Varnau has appealed his case against Brown County Sheriff Dwayne Wenninger to the United States Supreme Court.
Varnau has been in a legal battle with Wenninger since 2008, claiming that Wenninger is not legally qualified to be Sheriff.
Varnau's petition was denied by the Ohio Supreme Court in January of this year and refused to reconsider its decision in April.
The U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to discuss the case in September, and decide whether to hear it.
The court decides to hear about one percent of the cases submitted in this manner. If the court refuses to take up the case, then the ruling from the Ohio Supreme Court will stand and the case will be over.
"It's just a shame that this case has to continue to take some of my time away from serving the people of Brown County", Wenninger said.
"We have prevailed in every court, every time, and we expect to win this round too."
Varnau did win a victory of sorts in 2009 when the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that the 12th District Court of Ohio must rule on the merits of the case, instead of ruling against Varnau on technical issues.
The 12th District found in favor of Wenninger. Varnau appealed that ruling to the Ohio Supreme Court and was denied.
Varnau made the following statement to the Press regarding the case.
(Editors Note: Varnau's statement provides his representation of the legal background and history surrounding the case. Rather than publish it as a Letter to the Editor, I am including it in the story.)
"Every citizen is at least entitled to due process in court. As a Vietnam Veteran with one year and seven months in a combat zone, I too expect due process the same as anyone else. I have had NONE since 2008 in any of the three court forums handling my two cases.
On September 8, 2008, I was denied a writ of mandamus by Common Pleas Court to force the Board of Elections to accept my protest. The Court said I had another remedy in quo warranto, which was not true at that time. I could not file for a writ of quo warranto until after I had lost the election and the results certified on November 25, 2008. I appealed this decision to the 12th District Court of Appeals. It affirmed the Common Pleas ruling October 29, 2008, again denying me an instant remedy and thus, due process. (A quo warranto proceeding is a court action challenging one's legal credentials to hold an elected office.)
On February 27, 2009, in the 12th District Court of Appeals, I filed for that writ of quo warranto both courts already said I had as a future remedy, after I lost the election. The 12th District then completely avoided addressing the issue of whether or not Mr. Wenninger was qualified to be sheriff for the 2008 term of office. It held that since the Board of Elections put him on the ballot, he was automatically qualified as a valid candidate - which is not true. The Ohio Supreme Court reversed the 12th's judgment 7-0 and sent it back for a decision on the merits. On remand the 12th District again avoided addressing Mr. Wenninger's qualifications as a candidate for the 2008 election, this time holding I could not challenge former terms in office as they are past and now moot, deliberately confusing "terms in office" with "qualifications" that are required for every term of office, and by misstating my court briefs specifically aimed solely at Mr. Wenninger's lack of qualifications for the 2008 election and office term.
On appeal the second time, the Ohio Supreme Court upheld 7-0 the 12th's decision, reasoning that I should have brought my petition for quo warranto in 2001 or 2004, during Mr. Wenninger's first two terms in office. Here, the Ohio Supreme Court, with seven justices, having over 150-200 years of cumulative legal experience, said that I should have brought my case in 2001 - three years before I became a Brown County resident, or in 2004 before I had standing to file suit - not being a losing candidate for sheriff until 2008. Not one member of that Court could have read my case to make such a glaring error devoid of any common sense in light of the fact in the record that I moved to Brown County December 4, 2003.
So, for more than four years in court, plus $50-60K in court costs and attorney fees, not one forum, Brown County Board of Elections, Common Pleas Court, 12th District Court of Appeals, or the Ohio Supreme Court ever looked at the facts presented in my court briefs that clearly dictate Mr. Wenninger was never qualified by law as a valid candidate for any election cycle since 2000. And to this day, no one dares or even cares to challenge Mr. Wenninger to unseal his criminal court case record that found him not guilty of "knowingly" falsifying his election filings for the 2000 election.
What is difficult for most to understand is that the criminal trial in October 2003 was only concerned whether or not Mr. Wenninger "knowingly" violated the law by falsifying his election paperwork that stated he WAS qualified to be a valid candidate. He WAS NOT. If he were a valid candidate, then there never would have been an indictment for falsification; the case would never have gone to court; and/or it would have been dismissed prior to going to a jury for a decision. Just because Mr. Wenninger was found "not guilty" of criminal falsification, that did not change the underlying fact that he still was not qualified to be a valid candidate. The record is extremely clear, which is why no one wants to "touch" the merits in court.
So, in my opinion, reviewing all the facts and history, it is obvious to me that Mr. Wenninger had his criminal case sealed to keep the public from realizing he was not qualified to be a candidate for sheriff in 2000. Judge (Robert) Ringland stated in the trial record that Mr. Wenninger was NOT the sheriff. The sealing of criminal records is prohibited where the public's interest and right, or need to know, about Mr. Wenninger's qualifications or lack thereof to hold office, clearly outweigh any privacy interests he would have as an elected public official. The sealing coupled with an obvious concerted effort to deliberately hide the fact that Mr. Wenninger is currently a civilian, wearing a gun, making arrests, and is not a valid peace officer, by operation of law, defrauds county taxpayers and disenfranchises county voters.
By not allowing me to challenge the legal title to the office Mr. Wenninger claims, after I was first denied the right to protest to the Board of Elections because of party affiliation; and then denied a writ of mandamus to compel the Board of Elections to hear my protest, all as stated because I had a future remedy in quo warranto, and then deny the quo warranto remedy, not on the merits but because of time, the lower Court decisions deny me Federal due process of law and deny my right to pursue an elected office I was otherwise entitled to. It is also not just a question of an unexpired term of office, but the unconstitutional taking of my entitlement to the years of service, salary, benefits, and seniority, that I would have had if the law had been applied when demanded - due process under the 5th and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution."
The story goes on to get quotes from Wenninger and Varnau. Dennis uses every card, the Veteran card, the lawyer card, the woe is me victim card. Seriously, Dennis....it is time to suck it up and admit that you are a ....hmmmm...well, let me put it this way....
And, you know, maybe you should....um...