Monday, May 16, 2016




(Average Video Length:  07:00)


Dan Braxton

Chad Minor


John Ferrero
Jeff Jakmides

 Opening Statements

The Heroin Epidemic

Drug & Mental Health Courts

Decriminalization of Recreational Marijuana

Eliminating Revealing of Criminal Record
Employment Application

Institutionalization & Poverty

Adequacy of Public Defender Funding

Pursuing the Death Penalty

Reparations for the Wrongfully Convicted

Closing Statements

On Saturday evening (May 14, 2016), Next Chapter Bookstore located in the "Arts in Stark" District of Canton held the second in a series of debates between candidates for "countywide" office in which 13 year incumbent prosecutor squared off against veteran criminal defense and family law attorney Jeff Jakmides in a spirited debate that centered on the heroin epidemic problem that plagues Stark County, Ohio and likely the entire American body politic landscape.

This event complements the four blogs of the SCPR series (tabbed as being "rounds") on the Jakmides/Ferrero matchup which readers can access through the following links:
  • Blog of March 28 (LINK),
  • Blog of March 30 (LINK),
  • Blog of April 19 (LINK),
  • Blog of May, 6 (LINK),
The previous four previous SCPR blogs (to today's) centered on:
  • their personal/legal backgrounds,
  • the candidates' positions on "direct indictments" (and claimed by Jakmides huge taxpayer dollar savings to be had), and 
  • what the two of them would do as prosecutor (or in Ferrero's case, has done) with respect to the many, many "charged with crimes" persons who live in our Stark County neighborhoods but have not been served with arrest warrants,
Any discussion between the candidates prior to Saturday's debate was voice and written communications in response to SCPR questions.

By The Stark County Political Report's assessment, the clear winner in the Next Chapters sponsored face-to-face was challenger Jakmides.

But before going through the debate question by question in a video/commentary format, this blog focuses on the good folks at Next Chapter.

Take a few minutes (7:52) to get acquainted with the background of the genesis of and the future plans that Next Chapter has for providing Stark Countians "in the candidates own words" as basis for voting for one candidate as opposed to the other.

Speaking for Next Chapter is Dan Braxton:

Braxton, a motion graphics/graphics designer, has in his short period of time of being in Canton has put his skills to work promoting Canton and Stark County.

Take a look at this video published by Braxton on YouTube as an example of his work.

And here is Braxton's colleague Chad Minor (who with his wife have committed themselves to bringing hope to Canton for a better day [LINK])  adding to the background of The Next Chapter's getting involved in sponsoring debates for candidates seeking election to various countywide public office this coming November.

Next Chapter has put on a Q&A for Stark County commissioner candidates Richard Regula (the Republican incumbent) had his Democratic opponent John Mariol who is currently Canton Ward 7 councilman.

On June 25th, Republican Bill Smith (currently a Canton Township trustee) and Democrat Stephen Slesnick, a term-limited-out state representative as December 31st.

Now to the debate of this past Saturday between Democratic incumbent John Ferrero and his Republican challenger Jeff Jakmides (a rematch of a 2004 race won by Ferrero).



What does [each candidate] see as the benefits/shortcomings  of the current strategy of addressing the heroin epidemic?


How do [the candidates] view the effectiveness of the drug and mental health courts currently operating in Stark County?  As prosecutor, how would you improve them?


Candidates stand on the possible decriminalization of recreational Marijuana?  If use of Marijuana is not decriminalized, the candidates views on sentencing on conviction?


In view of President Obama's initiative of the matter, where does [each candidate] stand on the issue of disclosing criminal records on employment applications?


On the topic of institutionalization, what ideas do [each of the candidates] to curb the cycle of poverty generally associated with institutionalization?


With respect to fairness and justice in [Stark] County, do [the candidates] believe that the Public Defender's office is adequately funded?  If yes, why?  If not, what would [the candidates recommend?


As county prosecutor, how strenuously would [each candidate pursue the death penalty in appropriate cases?  What [does each candidate] consider appropriate cases?


Hypothetically, [each of the candidates as prosecutor] charge and see convicted someone who is later proven innocent; what reparations do you think would be appropriate and what are [the candidates'] thoughts about such circumstances?



John Ferrerro has been a prosecutor (Massillon and Stark County) for 28 years.

And it showed in spades Saturday evening in terms of the lack of vigor in his handling of questions.

His Republican opponent was much more animated and obviously "chomping at the bit" to get going with a style of leadership which is likely to infuse the prosecutor's office with an energy and determination that Stark Countians have not seen in years.

Jeff Jakmides makes a telling point that what Ferrero has really been, at least as Stark County prosecutor, is an administrator.

Effective and skilled trial lawyers who lead by example are far more rare that competent or better administrators.

Ferrero left unchallenged Jakmides's statement that Prosecutor Ferrero has not prosecuted one single case during his years as Stark County prosecutor.

Though its been 35 years since Jakmides has been a prosecutor (under Jim Unger), he apparently has more prosecutorial trial experience than Ferrero.

If true, isn't that amazing?

Counting his work as one of Stark County's leading criminal defense attorneys with a heavy dose of family law practice added, there is no question that Jakmides is vastly better qualified and experienced as a trial attorney than incumbent prosecutor Ferrero.

He has the indicia from his prolific trial experience to be a "lead by example" prosecutor and should entrust the ministerial side of the office to an efficient and effective administrator who likely would not be a lawyer.

The implication of Jakmides' style is that he will be lead counsel in the tough cases that every prosecutor's office experiences from time to time.

It could be that Prosecutor Ferrero eventually will come up with better reasons why he deserves to be and Stark County would be better off if he were to be reelected.

For those reasons were largely missing on Saturday.

Ferrero conceded that Jakmides (with a tone of sarcasm, The Report thinks) as compared to himself was the expert on Heroin addiction in Stark County by virtue of his training (i.e. his master's degree in corrections and a former probation officer) and as a consequence of his representing many, many clients charged with drug offenses.

A number of county law enforcement officials and judges say that Heroin addiction is Stark County's number one problem.

He may have said it "tongue in cheek," but in "on-the-face-of-it" conceding Jakmides' has better credentials to deal will the county's illicit drug epidemic, John Ferrero seemingly made a strong case for Stark Countians to think of Jakmides as being the man to make a dent in the festering Heroin problem.

So on two counts:  the trial experience factor and being "in the know" on how to deal with Heroin addicts and their suppliers, Jeff Jakmides—the SCPR assesses—had the better of it on Saturday at Next Chapter.

But Saturday was Saturday.

Maybe Stark sitting prosecutor just had a bad night.

November is still over five months away.

Time will tell!

A final note.

Kudos! to Rising Hope (LINK to RisingHope website)/Next Chapter for hosting Saturday night's public service event.

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