On her first day as Interim Brown County Coroner, Dr. Judith Varnau sent a letter to Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine questioning the qualifications of Brown County Sheriff Dwayne Wenninger. That letter, along with ongoing discussions on policy and procedure at death scenes, have severely strained the working relationship between the Coroner's Office and the Sheriff's Department. "There is no trust here at all", said Brown County Sheriff's Office Chief Deputy John Schadle. Wenninger said when he learned of the letter that "I wasn't surprised because Mr. Varnau can't let (his legal fight with Wenninger) go. He's lost every court case and I feel like they are trying to do whatever they can to get back at me." Prior to the Press receiving copies of the letter to the Attorney General and the response, Dr. Varnau was asked about the relationship between the two parties. She said, "My only agenda is to take care of the deceased and their families." A telephone call requesting comment on the letter sent to the Attorney General was not returned.If the only agenda is to take care of the deceased and families, then why did the letter basically engage in rehashing the entire court mess your husband was in, Dr. Varnau? Did you even really write the letter, or did you just take dictation for your husband? Back to the Press coverage:
In the letter to the Attorney General, Varnau lays out the legal case pursued by her husband, Dennis Varnau against Wenninger over the past several years. The letter begins "The mandatory duty to turn over firearms to the current sheriff of Brown County presents a legal dilemma for me where the sheriff's claim and legal credentials to hold office have...never been specifically addressed by any court of competent jurisdiction." The Varnau case against Wenninger ended last September when the U.S. Supreme Court refused to take the case. Prior to that, Varnau lost in the Ohio Supreme Court.Never been addressed by a court of "competent jurisdiction?" She just insulted the Ohio Supreme Court, the 12th district court of appeals, as well as the original court that issued decisions. Wow, the gall of this woman, and on her first day on the job! She has never held a governmental office before, to my knowledge. She has been an MD and I believe mostly in the field of women's health like gynecology and pregnancy. So, what would she know about jurisdiction, or for that matter competence, given her choice in lifemates? This shows you this woman did not want to serve the people of Brown County. She just wants to make Wenninger's job impossible. I guess she and Dennis hope Wenninger just quits or something. Pathetic that the people of Brown County are being served by a vindictive shrew who only wants to see her Dennis immaculated as sheriff. Maybe it's because he never shuts up about it and she wants some relief, I don't know. But this is just beyond the pale. And now she wants the state Attorney General to waste the people's time and money:
Varnau then asks the Attorney General to intervene in the case, writing "The history of concealment and complete failure to address Mr. Wenninger's legal qualifications is significantly suspect beyond probable cause, leaving only one individual left with the legal authority, duty and power, to take the case before a court of competent jurisdiction for a decision on the actual facts and merits present - the Attorney General." The letter then lays out the timeline of the case and legal arguments used by Mr. Varnau. On the last page, Varnau writes "My main concern is knowingly breaking the chain of custody on crime scene evidence by turning over confidential evidence to an unqualified "civilian" or one of his illegally-sworn deputies that are not legitimate Ohio peace officers-by law."So, now she is insulting every member of the Sheriff's deputies. Wow, way to establish a solid relationship there, Judith! What did the AG's office say?
Kevin McIver, the Chief of the Opinions section of the Attorney General's office, sent a one page reply, dated January 15. He replied, "At the county government level Attorney General DeWine issues written opinions on questions of law to the prosecuting attorney only. We do not provide opinions to the other elected officials of county government, for which the prosecuting attorney is designated legal counsel." The letter continues, "Further, the decision of the Ohio Supreme Court in State ex rel. Varnau vs Wenninger...affirming the denial of a quo warranto writ to oust the Brown County Sheriff from office confirms the legality of his service as county sheriff." Regarding Varnau's concern about turning over firearms to Wenninger, McIver writes, "in fulfilling your responsibilities... to deliver firearms to the county sheriff, you will be insulated from charges of malfeasance, misfeasance or nonfeasance."In other words, SHUT UP AND DO YOUR JOB, JUDITH, AND QUIT USING YOUR OFFICE FOR A PERSONAL VENDETTA!!! Wenninger, to his credit, just wants to do the work he was elected to do and serve and protect Brown County:
Wenninger has requested that Varnau provide a written statement to his office that she agrees that the sheriff's office policy on death scene procedure meets with her approval. At press time, Varnau had declined to do so. Wenninger said in light of the letter to the Attorney General's office, he was requesting that an emergency meeting be held between himself, Schadle, Varnau, Brown County Prosecutor Jessica Little and Common Pleas Court Judge Scott Gusweiler. "We can't move forward without written confirmation that we agree on procedure", said Wenninger. Regarding death scene policy, Wenninger said "We are still going to go by the law, but I want something from her in writing that we are all on the same page. Right now, her word isn't very good." When asked about the working relationship between the sheriff's office and the coroners's office, Wenninger said "No matter what her feelings are, I'm going to do whatever is in my power and legally right to give the citizens the best service possible."Coroners in Ohio have broad powers over death scenes. Varnau could raise a stink and seriously limit the ability of the sheriff to do his job. Then, I wonder who would be screaming from the rooftops that Wenninger is ineffective? You betcha, Dennis the Menace. More on the issues and Dr. Judith's childish behavior and attitudes:
The coroner can decide how large the death scene is, what is contained in it and when it can be released to law enforcement for investigation. "We need a permissive order from the coroner to remove anything from the scene. I don't want my people afraid they are going to be charged with a crime for doing their jobs", Schadle said. If someone violates a death scene, they can be charged with a fourth degree misdemeanor. Little has examined the procedures that the sheriffs office has outlined for death scenes and determined that the policy is in compliance with state law. Schadle is still concerned about the working relationship between the two offices saying that without a written agreement to fall back on, Varnau could change her mind at any time at a death scene. "We don't need to be at these scenes nitpicking back and forth for political gain", Schadle said. "We need to work out a procedure that everyone agrees with and stick to it." Varnau has said that she is not required to approve the policies of another agency. "It's not my place to sign off on someone elses procedures", Varnau said. "I'm responsible for my office and they are responsible for theirs." With the assistance of Little, a Memorandum of Understanding on death scene procedure was signed between Varnau and Schadle on Dec. 30. The agreement attempted to address the need for a "permissive order" from the Coroner to allow law enforcement officers access to death scenes. It states in part "...both the Coroner and the Sheriff agree that this permissive order is given for these death scenes and the sheriff's investigation can proceed immediately, with the understanding that the "body" cannot be moved or disturbed other than a good-faith effort to render life-saving assistance. Both the Coroner and he Sheriff agree that no police officer, deputy sheriff, fireman, emergency medical tech or member of any emergency response team will be held accountable by criminal means or otherwise in the performance of their duties." Varnau withdrew from the Memorandum of Understanding on Jan. 1 after visiting a death scene.And look at this email Dr. Varnau sent to the press regarding her Office:
She sent an e-mail to the Brown County Press regarding her office that states in part "The coroner's office is here to assist law enforcement, fire and EMS personnel while being supported through their efforts in return...My office is sincerely here to cooperate as a "team player" for any agency requesting our presence at death scenes."I don't know what her definition of team player is, but most people's definition would not include backstabbing the sheriff on your first day in office because your husband is a loser....I'm just saying....
Again, why does Dennis have to be such a....