Wednesday, November 19, 2014



The Stark County Political Report has just learned that Judge Linton Lewis, Jr. (of DeRolfe case fame [finding Ohio's funding of public education to be unconstitutional]) has found (in a ruling made yesterday) that Sheriff-elect George T. Maier will not be liable to former sheriff Timothy Swanson for damages in the approximate amount of $90,000 for having usurped to office.

Readers will recall that the Ohio Supreme Court found that Maier was illegally appointed to office as sheriff by the Stark County Democratic Party Central Committee (SCDP-CC) on February 5, 2013 and removed him from office on November 6, 2013.

Subsequently, the SCDP-CC on December 11, 2013 reappointed Maier.

In unofficial returns published by the Stark County Board of Elections, Maier defeated Republican Larry Dordea in the November 4th election by about 3,000 votes.

Other than the defeat by virtue of the quo warranto filed by Swanson, Maier has survived every challenge to his candidacy to be sheriff including:
  • a indirect attempt via a Writ of Prohibition filed by SCDP-CC challenger Louis Darrow against the SCDP-CC proceeding on February 5th,
  • a challenge made to the Stark County Board of Elections (BOE) on the issue of whether or not Maier was qualified,
    • which was deadlocked at the BOE with the Republican board members voting to disqualify him and the Democrat members voting to qualify him,
      • Republican Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted while not saying he was qualified allowed Maier ballot access,
        • the Ohio Supreme Court using an "abuse of discretion" standard said that Husted did not abuse his discretion is allowing Maier ballot access.
Local attorney and civic activist Craig T. Conley (who represented Swanson in the civil liability case) tells the SCPR that he thinks Judge Lewis erred in ruling against his Motion for Summary Judgment.

Moreover, Conley says, in granting Maier a summary judgment when the Maier attorney never filed such a motion is clearly in error and that he expects that the motion grant to "unasked" by Maier is clearly reversible error.

If Conley is correct in his assessment on the latter point and the Fifth District Court of Appeals reverses Lewis, then there will be a trial on the issue of civil liability.

The court of appeals could reverse Lewis on both rulings in which case Maier would be liable to Swanson unless his legal counsel can get the Ohio Supreme Court to hear an appeal (not as "a matter of right" as in original jurisdiction case such as quo warranto) of any personal liability determination.

As former New York Yankee catcher Yogi Berra is credited with saying:  "it's not over until its over" seems to apply with this case.

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