Friday, November 8, 2013




Remind me please to take George T. Maier's "word of guarantee" with "a grain of salt."

Of course, in his own mind, he is qualified to be sheriff of Stark County.

But what do the Ohio Supreme Court justices know (see bottom of page for hyperlink of actual published decision) about the law of qualifying to be sheriff?

Not much, if you listen to recently ousted George T. Maier whom, to Ohio's high court, was never legally the sheriff of Stark County in Tuesday's decision on Sheriff Tim Swanson's quo warranto suit against Maier.

Maier with his wheelin' dealin' political-sidekick-of-a-brother muscled their way through the Stark County Democratic Party Central Committee into an appointment - illegal though it was (notwithstanding Maier's guarantee that he was legal) - to sit in the chair of the Stark County sheriff.

But mind this, he has never been the legal sheriff of Stark County according to Ohio's supreme justices.

Apparently - in his mind - "the rule of law" be damned when it applies to me.

He persists in disagreeing with the Ohio Supreme Court in its determination that his pursuit and gaining the appointment was anything but being respectful of "the rule of law."

A fine position for a man who would be the county's chief law enforcer, no?

A man who not only knows enough to make arrests but also the audacity to challenge some of Ohio's most accomplished jurists in their multiple decades of lawyering and judging on Ohio's law.

When I was a young attorney, I used to hear folks say - when confronted with the reality that they had gotten some "bum advice from 'the cop on the beat,'" but "Officer Jones told me."

Yes, oft times police, because of their need to know the basic elements of criminal law in making arrests, think that thereby they become - in a fashion - lawyers maybe even judges (i.e. on occasion telling an arrestee:  "You are guilty.")

But far from it.

And George Maier appears to be no exception to the phenomenon that "the cop on the beat" knows more about the law than venerable jurists.

It is interesting to see the editorial board of Stark County's monopolistic newspaper hang on a minority opinion (two justices out of seven) that the statute which the court found Maier to be in violation of - need I repeat it - "Maier to be in violation of " was "overbroad."

Ask any lawyer who has a law school understanding of constitutional law, "overbroad" as a basis for finding a law unconstitutional is very "old school" and "what one hangs one's hat on" when one cannot find a specific constitutional basis on which to make a ruling.

Pure and simple, "unconstitutional" for being "overbroad" is a constitutional law catch-all that judges sometimes as legal justification for their decisions.  

Again to say,  for folks (the editorial board located at 500 Market Avenue, South) being the establishment types they are by virtue of staffing the county's major newspaper "to cast their net" out into the legal seas to reel in weak support as justification for their - in its essence - "anti-rule-of-law" stance is interesting in and of itself.

Real impressive, no?

It smacks of "we like George T. Maier" and "we think he did a good job" while serving illegally and therefore we will conjure up anything we can find to convince ourselves that the 5 were wrong and the 2 were right and that a minority position is "in our minds" the law of Ohio and therefore Maier was correct in making his guarantee.

A twisted fabrication of being in sync with "the rule of law," if there ever was one, no?

Their next "hue and cry" is likely to be an opining about local attorney and civic activist Crag T. Conley's thinking that he will be pursuing Maier to return all those thousands of dollars - about $70,000 in all, without calculating fringe benefits - from the double-dipping (retired from the Ohio Highway Patrol) George T. Maier.

Conley repeated to the Stark County Political Report last evening, that, unless the Maier apologists can show him a basis in law, he will next week begin action to collect for the Stark County taxpayers all of our hard earned tax dollars that Maier made off with.

Why would Conley - a man who is pursuing Judge Frank Forchione to be accountable for his on-again, off-again diversion of fine money from the Stark County general fund treasury to a worthy charity - dog Maier?

Real simple, folks.

Conley is an authentic - put "my money where my mouth is" rule of law guy.

He is no money-grubbing lawyer.  He has volunteered considerable time and effort gratis to pursue not only Forchione for accountability, but also former Stark County treasurer Gary D. Zeigler in a case where he was convinced that Ohio statutory law made Zeigler civilly liable for monies that came up missing from treasurer's office (stolen by the-then chief deputy treasurer Vince Frustaci).

Seemingly, but for Conley, the public trust can be violated in Stark County with no accountability?

With yesterday's SCPR blog featuring Conley - in his own words - stating his case outlines why - unless he can be shown to be wrong on his look at Ohio's accountability law - he intends to pursue Maier.

Already, The Report is told, those supporting including some "very close to Maier" have launched an effort to dissuade Conley from his pursuit.

However, there are about an equal number of Stark Countians who have contacted Conley who are adamant that Conley continue undeterred by his "civil law" accountability pursuit of Maier.

And get this.

He agrees with those who think Maier has done a superb job during his 9 months of illicitly sitting in the sheriff's chair.

While the SCPR agrees that Maier has done an effective and professional job, The Report thinks there is reason to be concerned that "when Maier gets challenged by someone," his veneer (his "political correctness" when things are going good) may come undone and we might well see a different George Maier.

Conley takes the import of Maier's guarantee very seriously indeed insofar as it can be construed to be a play to the notion of "the rule of law" prevailing.

Maier being qualified according Ohio law and, of course, his personal guarantee is where "the rubber meets the road" in terms of the "rule of law" be honored in fact rather than in theory.

"Oh yes, hypothetically, I am for "the rule of law" EXCEPT WHEN" dah, dah, dah ad infinitim.

If Conley remains convinced that Maier is liable to Stark County taxpayers, he will pursue Maier UNLESS Maier
man's up" (the SCPR words, not Conley's) to the Ohio Supreme Court ruling in Swanson v. Maier (ans his personal guarantee of being law-abiding) and admits he sat in the sheriff's chair illegally and repays Stark County (either in lump sum or by a repayment plan) the dollars paid to him for these past 9 months out of the Stark County treasury.

Conley is well-taken with Maier.  The SCPR has questions about his suitability (i.e. considering his temperament, the degree of his involvement in politics and, now, perhaps "a propensity to arrogance [e.g. "I guarantee"]) to be sheriff.

But as Conley says: no matter where one stands on whether or not Stark Countians should consider Maier as a person who should be Stark County sheriff, such is irrelevant.

The supreme standard is "the rule of law."

Not what the editors, Craig Conley or Martin Olson think about Maier's suitability as a matter of performance on the job to be sheriff.

Whether one is politically powerful and/or powerful by virtue of holding public office (e.g. a county treasurer, a judge or a sheriff); those who want to make our democratic-republic we call the constitutionally validated (expressing "the will of the people") United States of America work have to support "the rule of law."

Otherwise, we become a nation that bends "the rule of law" to accommodate those who cannot meet that standard.

We become a nation of respecters of persons.  We thereby put certain persons above the law.

A strange place for Stark county's chief law enforcer, no?

George T. Maier has been found by Ohio's "court of last resort" to have been in violation of the law of Ohio.

It is now time for him to square up with the reality that his guarantee has not been kept and to make amends.

In short, George T. Maier now as a matter of keeping his word NEEDS to:  EAT HIS WORDS and thereby be the supreme Stark County example of complying with "the rule of law!"

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