Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Injustices of it all or in Ohio Love Kills

The Injustices of it all or in Ohio love kills

            The written word on law enforcement injustice in Ohio usually comes from the pen of private investigator/ author Martin Yant, who has written three books regarding that issue: Rotten to the Core I & II and Tin Star Tyrants, but as a follow-up to my last blog, I would like to add my personal touch and an explanation as to why that is a continuing problem in Ohio. It is something that every private investigator investigating in Ohio should know.
            If I might refer back to my last blog, if you read it, Ohio is a local rule state with 88 county sheriffs and therefore, 88 princedoms each financed by their respective local taxpayers. The concept hasn’t changed much since the signing of the Magna Carta in 1215.  Interestingly, enough since some of the 88 princedoms are located in poverty areas, some of those counties regularly run out of funds to provide law enforcement and again, Ohio has no law enforcement entity to provide a backup plan when that happens. If you need a deputy during one of those times you’re just SOL.
            Since the princes of those princedoms rule their respective domains with an iron fist, they may not allow the state’s enforcement arm, the Ohio State Highway Patrol, to enter their respective county.
            Case in point: several years ago, we were called in, two years after the fact, to investigate a fatal automobile accident in which a Suzuki Samurai rolled over in one of those above counties where the OSP wasn’t welcome.  The deputy usually assigned to road duty that evening had marked off sick, so the Sheriff handed a jail deputy a gun, provided him a cruiser and sent him on his way. Remember again from my last article, it only takes 582 hours of training to be sworn law enforcement officer in Ohio; it takes even less to be a jail deputy.


            Anyway, two young lads, after a night of drinking, were southbound on a State Route, which is usually enforced by OSP, when the road came to a Z curve. Needless to say, the vehicle continued to precede straight, full speed ahead and flipped in to a water filled ditch, causing one of the two to drown.  Neither wore a seat belt and the survivor claimed he wasn’t the driver.
Where does a private investigator usually start such investigations?  They get a copy of the police report.  In this case, the report consisted of the two required pages and nothing else.  No measurements, no photographs, no interviews and no chemical test run on either the deceased or the uninjured individual; Ohio law enforcement at its finest.
            If that didn’t make you scratch your head, this will.  We were requested by a plaintiff’s firm to run down facts regarding a possible wrongful death matter in Southern Ohio. The facts were as follows: a 20 year old male, with the mentality of an eleven year old, fell in love with a 15 year old female. The two ran away together because the 15 year old female’s mother didn’t want their daughter associating with a 20 year old, mentally challenged individual. They made an official missing report to one of those previously mentioned princedoms.
            As the Sheriff’s Department investigation in the missing matter progressed a deputy observed the two walking hand in hand, walking a dog. When the deputy attempted to apprehend the two, one of the youths struck the deputy’s face, allegedly, with the chain that they were using to walk the dog. It caused a minor scratch, according to an eyewitness at the scene.  Of course that’s not the way it was put out over the airwaves. It was officer injured attempting to apprehend two desperadoes.
The chase was on and the two unarmed, they had dropped the dog chain, desperadoes ended up in an upstairs bedroom of a vacant house. Prior to their demise a deputy had stated to one of the family members that: “when we catch him, we’re going to beat the crap out of him”.  They never got the chance.

The vacant house, to which the two fled, was surrounded by law enforcement and subsequently burst into flames. The two youths perished in the blaze which was ruled a murder-suicide, even though there was no evidence of an accelerant ever found in or around the areas near the bodies, nor found on any articles of their clothing. In an effort to “find traces of accelerants, the State Fire Marshal ordered the house to be “washed down”, three times, thus making the alleged “accelerant” unidentifiable.
            Thus is the life for a PI investigating in Ohio.  Every year, for as long as I can remember, and I been at this for 40 plus years, one or more of Ohio’s dually elected Sheriffs is indicted for wrong-doing.  The Buckeye State Sheriff’s Association keeps continuing this political farce while the Ohio Highway Patrol runs as fast as possible away from the idea of become a state policing agency. Forget a public records search. You can try but there may not be any truthful records on file regarding the incident you’re investigating or they may be so inadequate that are totally useless.
            In the next blog we’ll address the licensing entity for Private Investigators in Ohio. If you think the above is mind boggling wait till you read about that.

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