JAKMIDES VERSUS FERRERO
IF THERE WAS EVER ANY DOUBT, THIS ONE-ON-ONE
RESOLVES ALL IN FAVOR OF
Democrat John Ferrero (not Ferraro as spelled by LWV placard (as seen in accompanying video) preparer) is in for the political fight of his life to remain as Stark County prosecutor come January 1, 2017.
Leading Stark County criminal defense attorney and Republican Jeff Jakmides is going all-out to put Ferrero (a former Stark Dems' chairman originally "appointed" to the office in 2003) on the political sidelines.
Ferrero handily defeated Jakmides in 2004.
But the SCPR believes that the 2016 election might turnout to have a different result.
For those Stark County voters who want to know "the full story" of the varying perspectives of the functioning of the prosecutor's office as between Ferrero and Jakmides, here is a list of blogs done by The Stark County Political Report which collectively detail the differences between the two.
Ferrero/Jakmides on March 28, 2016,
Ferrero/Jakmides on March 30, 2016,
Ferrero/Jakmides on April 19, 2016,
Ferrero/Jakmides on May 6, 2016,
Ferrero/Jakmides on May 16, 2016 [NextChapter Debate],
Jakmides (prosecutor) campaign kickoff on July 1, 2016,
Jakmides on the issue of trust on July 5, 2016,
Ferrero/Jakmides on August 19, 2016,
From The Report's perspective, nobody connected to the Stark County justice system and running for political office should be accepting campaign donations because one can bet her/his bottom dollar that if the need arises a contributor for him/herself or others she/he by virute of having made a financial contribution likely attempt to weigh in for special favors of a prosecutor, judge, sheriff or law director.
Not to eliminate all but the financially well of like Jakmides in running for a justice system office, Ohio should consider setting up public financing of justice system elective offices elections.
One of the SCPR's main beefs with John Ferrero (going back to 2009) is that The Report thinks that Ferrero—in pushing the prosecution of Marlboro Township police chief Ron Devies and his son Kyle on felony counts in what the SCPR thinks was at worst a misunderstanding/miscommunication involving the township's internal computer operations/Internet presence—was motivated by political connection factors.
Here are a number of blogs which bear on how Ferrero handled the Devies mattter and constitute a way in which readers can familiarize themselves with Ferrero's (his office's) conduct in with the Devises.
(Note: interesting and perhaps in a sense ironically [hindsight being 20/20] Jeff Jakmides represented Ron Devies)
- January 27, 2009, (the beginning of the politically inspired "witch hunt?")
- "Area press reports have recounted how Marlboro Township trustees voted on January 12th to put the chief on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation by the Stark County sheriff's department on possible misconduct involving township computers."
- April 7, 2009, (bearing on SCPR's take on Ferrero's political connections),
- May 20, 2009, (what if the Devieses are acquitted, apologies forthcoming?),
- May 21, 2009, (The Repository editorial board minimalizes the matter),
- March 23, 2010, (Ferrero's political attack on the SCPR),
- May 26, 2016 (Devies charges dismissed by Judge Lee Sinclair)
Ferrero and his office stumbled and bumbled in making the county treasury whole as a consequence of the theft of upwards of $3 million by now former Stark County Chief Deputy Treasurer Vince Frustaci which surfaced in April, 2009.
Only the pressure/efforts of local attorney and civic activist Craig T. Conley did he and his office get going on any semblance at all of restoring Stark County's financial loss from those subject to civil liability for the loss according to Ohio law.
Ferrero also was in the thick of a political challenge to George T. Maier's qualification to be county sheriff in early 2013 on the development of the "for health reasons" inability of elected in November, 2012 as sheriff Mike McDonald to take office.
In a highly ironical sense, the Ferrero/Maier face off (the SCPR thinks) is battle of two of Stark County's most political elective office holding officials.
A number of folks think Ferrero stepped forward and used a function as prosecutor (i.e. interpreting the-then Ohio sheriff required qualifications statute) to advance his political interest in his well known and publicized fight with the Johnnie A. Maier, Jr Massillon Political Machine.
Ferrero is a former Massillon law director/city prosecutor.
And, remember, he is a former chairman of the Stark County Democratic Party.
Shouldn't having been the chairman of a political party be a disqualifying criterion for anyone being eligible to run for an elected position in Ohio's justice system or a the very least in the minds of voters, if we want that system to have the confidence of the integrity of that system?
Now on to the candidates forum sponsored by the Canton League of Women Voters (C-LWV) and The The Repository.
First, the candidates' opening statements.
The video: (4:34)
From here on out, this blog frames the forum Q&A by:
- the overall title of the question/issue,
- the video of the exchange between Jakmides and Fererro, and
- the SCPR analysis of the answers
The video: (6:43)
A key issue brought out by Jakmides from the beginning of his campaign which Ferrero has been scrambling to deal with in terms of having a spotty record on in implementing and/or staying with.
Ferrero in this video introduces a new tack. County financial woes forced him to curtail if not eliminate direct indictment implementation.
If Jakmides is correct that implementing it saves Stark County subdivision taxpayers thousands upon thousands of dollars, it is a no brainer that one find the seed money to fuel the great savings.
In this election, Ferrero is receiving the endorsement of much if not all of law enforcement.
Could it be that it is payback for protecting the overtime pay police and others in the law enforcement get in a muted implementation of direct indictment?
The SCPR remembers during the most recent county budget crisis (2011-2012) Ferrero threatening the Stark County commissioners on the issue of budget appropriations for his office (see this blog of January 25, 2012 LINK) with farming out the prosecution of cases via forcing judges to appoint private practice attorneys which, of course, would have been very costly to the overall Stark County "general fund" budget and thereby jeopardized the financing of other aspects of Stark County government.
Pretty atrocious behavior for a justice system elected official, no?
QUESTION/ISSUE # 2: DEALING WITH HEROIN EPIDEMIC
The video: (6:43)
Look at this graphic:
In the 2012-2013 reporting period, there were an over the two year span average of 34 deaths from heroin and other opiates overuse related deaths.
Guess where the number is as of August 25, 2016?
According to a local media report: 36!
Looks like to the SCPR that the Stark County criminal justice system (which Prosecutor Ferrero is a key element of) is not being very effective, no?
In his LWV presentation, Candidate Jakmides makes a convincing case that he is equipped to be more effective in tamping down this increasingly chronic problem than the sitting prosecutor, no?
QUESTION/ISSUE # 3: PLEA BARGAINING
The video: (4:54)
It there was no "plea bargaining" and prosecutors were forced to try every case in which there was not "a guilty as charged" plea, it would take forever to get cases disposed of.
So knowledgeable people understand and support "a reasonable use" of plea bargaining.
Jakmides point is that the Ferrero-led Stark County prosecutorial team overuses plea bargaining.
And this is exactly where lay persons are coming from when they complain about the use of plea bargaining.
In one of the blogs linked above, the SCPR (based on material researched by Jakmides [confirmed independently by The Report] shows objective data on the highly excessive use of plea bargaining by the Stark County prosecutor's office on cases that weigh heavily on the public safety going forward.
It appears to the SCPR that with his over 500 jury trial experience will play large in Jakmides playing tougher with accused criminals resulting in them being out of Stark County neighborhoods and behind bars for a longer period of time.
QUESTION/ISSUE # 4: HANDLING OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CASES
The video: (3:56)
Domestic Violence case only become a matter for the Stark County prosecutor when there are multiple offenses which escalates what normally a misdemeanor (handled entirely by municipal courts) into being a felony.
And, as Prosecutor Ferrero, points out, all to often the victim becomes uncooperative if not refusing to aid in a prosecution.
However, when yours truly's daughter was a prosecutor in the Atlanta, GA area, she was able to gain a conviction of in a misdemeanor domestic violence case.
Skilled prosecutors can and do get convictions in the face of not having an ideal case.
Jakmides, as seen in the video, gives practical clothes to his argument for more extensive use of direct indictments in Stark County.
Direct indictments in domestic violence cases would bring the case to a head much quicker and presumably reduce the likelihood that the key witness becomes uncooperative.
QUESTION/ISSUE # 5: COMMUNITY INITIATIVE TO REDUCE VIOLENCE (CIRV)
The video: (3:39)
In this video Ferrero explains why he does not think direct indictment is effective in resolving the domestic violence program.
Ferrero is far more effective in embracing the CIRV program that Jakmides is.
Jakmides appears to be out to prove how tough he is on crime.
Nobody thinks John Ferrero likes crime and wants to coddle criminal.
The Report thinks that Jakmides is overdoing the "tough on crime" thing especially in the context of this question.
QUESTION/ISSUE # 6: CRIMINAL JUSTICE & MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES
The video: (3:56)
From the video, which candidate do you think has a better handle on criminal justice and the mental condition of defendants?
It looks to The Report that it is Candidate Jakmides.
QUESTION/ISSUE #7: CRIMINAL JUSTICE & FELONY REENTRY TO JOBS
The video: (4:05)
Here the edge goes to Candidate Ferrero.
He effectively answers in citing an instance in which he helped a person gain employment by responding to the inquiry of a prospective employer.
The video: (4:05)
Candidate Jakmides has the more responsive answer.
He takes a forthright position in the way of eliminating mandatory sentences. And he makes a strong statement in support of fairness in sentencing between those who are well stationed in life as compared to the everyday or down and out citizen.
QUESTION/ISSUE #9: JUSTICE RE: ABUSIVE/ACCUSED OF CRIME POLICE OFFICERS
The video: (5:42)
Both candidates of course are for holding police to the same legal standards that we are all are accountable to.
If one believes Jakmides, Prosecutor Jakmides staff has not done an effective job on that score in Stark County.
The Report agrees with Jakmides that there is concern that police stick up for one another and perhaps particularly in Stark County.
It appears that Prosecutor Ferrero is so connected to Stark County policing to the effect that policing is held to different criminal law standard than Stark County political subdivision policing generally is.
The Stark County public should have more confidence in Jakmides than Ferrero on this score.