, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Bob Fitrakis On WVKO Radio Columbus Series Audio 2012 Archive, Youtube Bonus at end

Fight Back Podcast Nov. 11, 2012
Bill Baker talking about Charter passing against fracking in MANSFIELD, OH 1.03 BILL OF RIGHTS ARTICLE 1

Fight Back Podcast November 24, 2012
Naked Short Selling, Brown Saddle Films, Christina Copeland
The Wall Street Conspiracy – Trailer The Naked Truth: Investing in` the Stock Play of a Lifetime Hardcover – February 15, 2008 by Mark Faulk (Author)

Fight Back WVKO Podcast November 17, 2012
Bill Baker Charter amendment in Mansfield Against Article 1 sec. 1.03 Bill Of Rights Anti-Fracking activist. Home Rule by Existing Ohio Law

Fight Back WVKO Podcast November 10, 2012
Karl Rove Melt Down, Election Summary, Jim Hettle
and Mary Beth Bryan Working on documentary incl. Romney

Fight Back WVKO Podcast November 03, 2012
Jill Stein Green Party Presidential candidate, Command Central
Voting Intricacies

Fight Back WVKO Podcast, October 27, 2012 Romney Family investments in voting machines

Fight Back WVKO Podcast, October 06, 2012
Special Guest Ass’t Professor Of Economics, Dr. Fadel Kaboub from Denison University

Fight Back WVKO Podcast, September 29, 2012
Brian Clash live. Terri Jameson Domestic Relations Juvenile court candidate.40:45> Gerry Bello Sept. 27, 2012 Free Press Article, “Vote counting company tied to Romney”

Fight Back WVKO Podcast, October 13, 2012
Cheri Honkala, VP Candidate For The U.S. Green Party 2012

Fight Back WVKO Podcast October 20, 2012
Kelly Nyks, “Split, A Deeper Divide“, Gerry Bello, Political analysis (31:37), John Wellington Innis, Edited Version, “Free For All” (34:25), Discussion of Michael Connell, (52:04), ‘Point Of Sale’ (POS) attack. Romney and voting machines.

Fight Back WVKO Podcast Sept. 15, 2012
Michael Alwood standing in for Peter Navarro Film Producer, official site “Death By China” Free on youtubeKnow Drones 47:58 Nick Mottern.

Fight Back WVKO Podcast Setp. 8, 2012 Bob talks to Senior Editor of the Columbus Free Press, Harvey Wasserman about Husted, Ohio SOS, bans Sunday voting and voter suppression.

Fight Back, WVKO Podcast Sept. 1, 2012 (Starts 11:12) Tom Over, live at the republican convention.

Fight Back WVKO Podcast Aug. 18, 2012 (Starts 8:20) Elections and Voting, Wisconsin Guests (Dennis Kern, John Washburn) Ohio Dem. Dennis Liberman removed from office (by Jon Husted Ohio SOS) for promoting weekend voting.

Fight Back WVKO Podcast Aug 11, 2012 Fighting The War Party, Richard Ehrbar III (L) – Candidate for Congress, Ohio District 3, Bob’s Opposition candidate.

FightBack WVKO Podcast August 4, 2012 (starts at 6:25)
Columbus City Council Mis-Representation, Reflex, Carpet Baggers, Hiroshima, Nagasaki memorial 62nd, No Drones, 51:47: Dave agin’ Obama and dems, Obama agenda, Workers and voting rights.

Fight Back WVKO Podcast July 14, 2012 (Starts 9:30) (Starts 9:43) Re-examining Lucasville, OH longest prison uprising in U.S. Ben Turk Redbird prison abolition. Live call from prison, Siddique Abdullah Hasan (Carlos Sanders) | Justice for Lucasville Lucasville Five.

Fight Back WVKO Podcast July 21, 2012 (Starts 7:43) Prison Industrial Complex Derrick Jones and Natural, movie “The Great Incarcerator”

Fight Back WVKO Podcast July 28 2012 (starts 7:20) Dell Perry, local Musician, Producer, Then (38.50)  R.P Ericksen author “The Left Has Always Been Right”.

Fight Back WVKO Podcast May 19, 2012 Front Street with host Charles Traylor,

Fight Back WVKO Podcast May 26, 2012 Rob Kall, Chief editor OpedNews.com, (21:12) NATO Summit, Chicago coverage from Freepress Photographer, Christopher Coston.  COINTELPRO worldwide campaign fighting U.S. policy opposition. Trayvon Martin discussion caller. Bob Bennett, Wally O’Dell (Diebold) mention. Infoshop Event.

Fight Back WVKO Podcast June 6, 2012 Sean Gilbow, 1851 centerDonald Goldmacher, Bay Area Activist “Heist, The Movie” Public Employees, School Districts for profit.

Fight Back WVKO Podcast June 9, 2012 Dr. Bob and Cliff Arnebeck, Richard Charnin, Scott Walker Recall (WI), Pattern: Exit Polls adjusted to match “outcome”. Harvey Wasserman calls in. Barbara With, Sheila Parks.

Fight Back WVKO Podcast June 23, 2012 Dr. Bob, Michael Alwood and Cliff Arnebeck, Campaign For America’s Future, Van Jones about Obama’s knowledge of election rigging. Judith, Texas Strike Force, WI robocalls, Michael Connell deposition, death (42:20). After Conf. Posse to Crossroads, 43:30. Letter from Bob Bauer, Jill Simpson and Don Seigelman, Max Cleland, Georgia election corruption. Rove fired from Whitehouse, 2007.

Fight Back WVKO Podcast May 12, 2012 Fascism, Corporatism, Socialism, Trotsky, Michael Alwood, Steve

Fight Back WVKO Podcast May 5, 2012 Bill Baker, Frack Free Ohio, Preferred Fluids, TX, President Speaking in Columbus

Fight Back WVKO Podcast July 7, 2012 Bob, Michael Alwood, AEP, Global Warming, Weather Mods, Full Spectrum Dominance, Nick Mottern: KnowDrones

BONUS:

, , , , , , , , , ,

Franklin County Prosecutor candidates weigh in on police-involved shootings, diversion programs, equal protection

by Steve Palm-Houser
SEPTEMBER 20, 2016

opt_img_91401

On September 14, two candidates for Franklin County Prosecutor answered questions about how they would respond to officer-involved shootings, if elected. As the candidates’ forum at Mt. Olivet Baptist Church proceeded, only one mile away 13-year-old Tyre King was pursued and shot multiple times by Columbus police. He was taken to Nationwide Children’s Hospital and pronounced dead a few minutes after the candidates’ forum ended.

Adrienne Hood spoke at the beginning of the forum. Her son Henry Green was killed by Columbus police on June 6. “It’s unfortunate that the person who can give me the justice that my son deserves is not here,” she said, indicating the empty chair reserved for Ron O’Brien, the incumbent County Prosecutor candidate. O’Brien has not responded to demands by Green’s family to indict the officers who shot him and appoint an independent prosecutor to oversee the case.

Diversion programs

People’s Justice Project organizer Tammy Alsaada posed the first question to Democratic candidate Zach Klein and Green Party candidate Bob Fitrakis. “Would you keep families together by expanding diversion programs for youth, for addiction, and for mental health issues in underserved and overlooked communities?” she asked. “And how would you help keep people out of the system and get the treatment they need?”

“Yes,” Zach Klein said. “I’m a firm believer that the cycle of incarceration breeds a cycle of poverty, which breeds a cycle of incarceration. I think we need to be aggressive in expanding our diversion program to ensure that there is treatment” for drug addiction and mental health issues. “We also need a diversion program that recognizes when some people turn to crime to make ends meet. It may be a small number of people, but there are people who lack opportunity. Jail is for people that we’re afraid of, not for people we don’t know what to do with.”

There is currently “no rhyme or reason or policy directive out of the prosecutor’s office for who is eligible for diversion,” Klein said. “It’s all at the whim of whether the prosecutor knows the defense attorney. That’s not fair, open, or transparent.”

Bob Fitrakis also responded “yes” to Alsaada’s question. “As prosecutor I will not arrest anyone for drug possession,” he said. “It’s a medical problem, and that’s how it will be handled.” Instead, he would go after the people involved in heavy drug trafficking. “Many of these are connected with legitimate businesses. The people who fueled the crack epidemic in this town in the 1990’s were Southern Air Transport. They were bringing heroin and other drugs into this country. Instead of going after someone with ten balloons in their stomach, let’s go after the large aircraft that are coming in by the planeload, contaminating these communities.”

Fitrakis cited the recently revealed admission by Richard Nixon’s domestic policy chief John Ehrlichman that the War on Drugs was started not to curb drug use, but to marginalize blacks and the hippies who opposed the Vietnam War. “This has been a systematic campaign against the poor community, against the black community,” he said. “We need to redefine the problem.”

Equal protection under the law

“Research shows that mass incarceration disproportionately affects low-income people, and people of color,” said Jasmine Ayres, field director for the Ohio Organizing Collaborative. “We need more information to make evidence-based decisions on policies and practices. For example, black people in Franklin County are 3.8 times more likely to be in jail than whites.

“Will you collect and share demographic data — including race, gender, and income level — on who is charged, what they are charged with, what plea is offered, and what bail is recommended? And how would you set alternative metrics to evaluate your staff?”

“Will I comply with the open records law? Yes,” Bob Fitrakis responded. “There needs to be full transparency. For many years, before the Free Press went after the judges, they were double-bonding people. The bondsmen were running the court until they were exposed.

“I’m going to remove the jump-out boys,” he said, referring to plainclothes police officers who patrol so-called “crime hot-spots,” a code word for neighborhoods with many poor, black, and Latino residents. “They post white police, walking around with money, pretending they’re on drugs, acting like bait. They should be removed or charged criminally, because they’re causing the violence. They need to get off the streets.”

Fitrakis recalled teaching police officers about the U.S. Constitution in 1980. “They weren’t really receptive to it, but we were able to work out certain things,” he said. “We should pay our police well, and we should make sure they know our fundamental principles.”

Zach Klein responded, “Yes, as someone who’s running for prosecutor, trying to get that information that you seek. It doesn’t exist. We should have an open, transparent system in the prosecutor’s office that uses the best practices and technology, that’s not only available, but easy to understand.

“In 2014, which is the last year this data was available, there were 12,000 criminal filings in Franklin County. 190 went to trial. Think about the 11,810 cases that never went to trial, that fall squarely within the programs and opportunities that you’re talking about. But outside of knowing they didn’t go to trial, we don’t know anything about the defendants, the pleas, or the cases.

“Having an open and transparent prosecutor’s office restores the community’s faith in the criminal justice system,” Klein said. “We need to have a prosecutor’s office that is outward-facing, that is engaged in the community, that doesn’t just go home to the suburbs, that looks like the community,” Klein said. “What do I know about Ron O’Brien’s office? Four percent of his lawyers are African American. I think that’s abysmal. We need to have a more aggressive approach to recruiting African American, Latino, LGBT, and female lawyers.”

Trying juveniles as adults

“Youth should not be tried as adults. Research shows that if you send youth to adult prison, they are more likely to re-offend. They are more likely to be sexually abused,” said Candice Williams-Bethea, a grassroots educator with the People’s Justice Project. “How will you handle the practice of trying minors in adult court? And how will you use developmentally-informed decision making appropriate to youth?

“Those statistics are real, which is why any prosecutor should be careful about charging any juvenile as an adult, or as a juvenile,” Zach Klein responded. “A prosecutor’s office should be working with faith and community leaders to play quarterback on this issue and others, to give juvenile offenders a chance to pull themselves out of the cycle. A proactive prosecutor will bring the parties together with a mentor program that can give kids an opportunity to make a difference, not just treat them like a number.”

“I’m not charging any juvenile as an adult if I am prosecutor,” said Bob Fitrakis. “Social science states the obvious: the amount of lawbreaking between affluent suburban white kids and inner-city kids is about the same. The only difference is who gets charged, who gets a record, and who ends up doing time and being profiled for the rest of their lives.”

As an attorney, Fitrakis sees “more justice when I go to mayor’s court in Worthington, Grandview, and Hilliard, when youth are charged with a minor misdemeanor because they’re good boys and girls and about to go off to a private school.” For the same offense a young person in Columbus might be given a first degree misdemeanor or a felony charge, he said. “That must end in the prosecutor’s office.”

Independent prosecutor for police-involved shootings

“Recently the Supreme Court of Ohio acknowledged the bias of the grand jury process when it comes to indicting police,” said Aramis Malachi-Ture Sundiata, statewide organizing director for the People’s Justice Project. “Will you appoint an independent prosecutor to investigate all police-involved shootings in Franklin County? And if not, how will you handle police-involved shootings?”

“If you appoint an independent prosecutor, who do you hold accountable?” Zach Klein responded. “When I am prosecutor, I want you to hold me accountable for decisions I make, not only in police-involved shootings, but in any issue of crime.”

Klein cited Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Tim McGinty, who lost a re-election campaign when he failed to indict police officers in the killing of Tamir Rice. “He was held accountable and got fired,” Klein said. “If we appoint independent prosecutors, I’m afraid that we might lose the accountability. You can’t vote an independent prosecutor out of office.”

“I have no problem with an independent prosecutor,” Bob Fitrakis said. “I just don’t think it goes far enough. I believe that there needs to be an independent civilian review board, with subpoena power, that is elected from the area commissions, and that is responsible in these shooting cases.

“Part of the problem is the tremendous hold the FOP has on elected officials,” Fitrakis said. “That has to stop. We need not only an independent prosecutor; we need a civilian review board with an auditor. We need real citizens from the high-crime neighborhoods. We should be able to elect people from those communities, because they’re the victims.”

At a Columbus City Council candidates’ forum last fall, Zach Klein went on record as opposing a civilian review board with subpoena power.

Both candidates agreed to meet with the groups who held the candidates forum’ 100 days after the election.

For each of the questions posed, the audience applause was consistently louder and longer for Bob Fitrakis than for Zach Klein.

123456

, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Bob Fitrakis Speaking The Jill Stein Rally, Capital University, Columbus, OH

September 2nd. 2016


sept22016bob

, , , ,

Green Party candidate Bob Fitrakis is running for Franklin County Prosecutor in 2016.

He promises to prosecute polluters, rogue cops, and corporate criminals.

What I hope to accomplish as Franklin County Prosecutor?
* Prosecute any police using excessive force
* Prosecute polluters poisoning the people, soil, water, or air
* Prosecute individuals involved in scandals, such as Redflex and data-rigging within Columbus City Schools
* Set up a whistleblower’s hotline
* Prosecute anyone involved in vote tampering or voter suppression, including elected officials
* Make Franklin County a Bill of Rights Enforcement Zone
* Arrest any individuals or government officials illegally spying on the people of Franklin County
* Guarantee due process and equal protection for all people, especially immigrants, minorities, and the poor who are targeted unfairly by the police
* Advocate for decriminalization and legalization of marijuana and hemp
* Provide treatment and diversion programs rather than jail sentences for drug addicts and abusers
* Go after the real drug dealers with ties to the CIA who bring drugs in by the planeload – wealthy, well-connected cartels

Bob Fitrakis Biography
Bob Fitrakis is currently the co-chair of the Ohio Green Party and the Franklin County Green Party. He ran as the Green Party Lt. Governor with Anita Rios in 2014 when the Green Party received over 100,000 votes in Ohio. He was also a candidate in the 3rd congressional district in 2012 and as the Green Party endorsed candidate for governor of Ohio in 2006. He has been a member of the Green Shadow Cabinet as the Federal Elections Commissioner since 2013 after he worked with Jill Stein, the 2012 presidential candidate.
Fitrakis is a Political Science Professor in the Social Sciences department at Columbus State Community College, where he won the Distinguished Professor Award in 2012. He has a Ph.D. in Political Science from Wayne State University and a J.D. from The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law. He was a Ford Foundation Fellow to the Michigan State legislature and currently serves as a Near East Area Commissioner. He co-authored “What Happened in Ohio: A documentary record of theft and fraud in the 2004 election” (New Press, 2006), and has authored or co-authored 12 other books including six on election integrity. Fitrakis is the editor of the Free Press, freepress.org and columbusfreepress.com.
Fitrakis was admitted to the Ohio Bar in 2003. In his first major case, he sued Ohio State University for violating students’ civil rights who were organizing the annual Hemp Festival, and won. He represented anti-fracking activist madeline ffitch, arrested for civil disobedience at a fracking well in southeastern Ohio. He also had charges dismissed against Kevin Egler in Kent, Ohio for posting an “Impeach Bush” sign on public property. He was served as the attorney for the Columbus NAACP, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, the Ohio Green Party, the Ohio Rights Group, Columbus Film Festival, The Neighborhood Network, Columbus Institute for Contemporary Journalism, among others.
Fitrakis has been an election protection activist since March 1994, when he served as an international observer for the national elections in El Salvador. He co-wrote and edited the El Salvador election report for the United Nations. Fitrakis was an election protection attorney on November 2, 2004 in Franklin County. After witnessing election suppression, he called the first public hearings on voter suppression and election irregularities and was one of four attorneys to file a challenge to Ohio’s presidential elections results: Moss v. Bush and Moss v. Moyer. In 2006, Fitrakis was co-counsel in the King-Lincoln-Bronzeville lawsuit against the Ohio Secretary of State’s office seeking to end racially discriminatory electoral practices in Ohio and to ensure free and fair elections. He authored a 50-point consent decree to ensure election integrity in Ohio submitted to the current Secretary of State. Many of these proposals have been adopted by the state of Ohio.
In December 2004, Fitrakis testified before the Judiciary Committee of Congress at the request of Rep. John Conyers in both Washington D.C. and Columbus. The information gathered from the Fitrakis’ investigations and hearings resulted in the Conyers Report, “What Went Wrong in Ohio?” released January 5, 2005. Fitrakis spoke to the National Press Club in Washington D.C. on Ohio’s election issues. Fitrakis briefed John Kerry, worked on election reform with Rep. Maxine Waters (D-LA), and briefed the Democratic Party Senate leadership. He later briefed the Congressional Progressive Caucus as well as the Congressional Black Caucus and the Senate Democratic leadership. Dr. Fitrakis testified at the Election Assessment hearings in Houston, Texas in 2005, which became part of the Carter-Baker Commission Report on federal election reform.

, , , , , , , , , , ,

Bob Speaking @ Congressional Briefing April 21, 2016

Fitrakis from Ben-Zion Ptashnik on Vimeo.

apr21VideoIntro

Other links and info:

http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/35846-members-of-congress-call-for-end-to-mass-voter-suppression-and-insecure-elections

http://columbusfreepress.com/article/how-voter-suppression-efforts-are-threatening-our-democracy

, , , , ,

The gatekeepers: Striking it rich in the bail bond business

Columbus Alive Archive Article

The gatekeepers (Bail bonds)
05/07/1997
FEATURED ARTICLE
The gatekeepers
Striking it rich in the bail bond business

by Bob Fitrakis

Despite a city ordinance prohibiting the soliciting of business by bail bondsmen, “in or around any court or public place,” a month-long investigation by Columbus Alive revealed that the law is routinely ignored. One firm, SMD & HLS Bonding Company, appears to be running its business from the “interview” room next to arraignment Courtroom 4D in the Municipal Court building. SMD & HLS bail bonders linger in the hall and sit in the back of the court and appear to be soliciting business.

The so-called public “interview” room appears to function as a high-powered office for the SMD & HLS Bonding Company, listed in the yellow pages as four different firms: Handler Bonding, Lowell Fox, Sam English and A-Aa Absolute Bail Bonds. Still appearing in the yellow pages entry is a photo of Sam English, who has been dead for several years. As of the writing of this article, the woman who answers the phone at the Sam English firm tells callers that Mr. English “isn’t in.”

Although the courthouse is a no-smoking public building, smoke wafts from the interview room when the door is opened as bail bondsmen hustle family and friends of defendants from the arraignment court to their office equipped with phones and a criss-cross phone directory. As one highly placed law-enforcement source put it, “It’s the old adage. The best place to hide illegal activity is out in the open.”

A non-Handler bondsman pointed out what he saw as an analogous situation. In 1990, the Board of Commissioners on Grievances and Discipline of the Supreme Court of Ohio suspended Judge Ralph D. Dye Jr. of McConnelsville for using public space to conduct private business. The board labeled his free-rent arrangement at the courthouse “inexcusable, unfair to other attorneys and unethical.”

In a letter dated November 21, 1996, in response to a public records request, Municipal Clerk of Courts Paul Herbert, stated: “I have not been designated, nor do I have any authority to enforce the use of the conference room next to Court Room 4D. …The rules for the use of the room have been clearly posted on the door.”

Asked if his bondsmen are soliciting business on the fourth floor, Handler said in a telephone interview: “Totally untrue. I don’t need to solicit. I’ve been in business 25 years. I advertise. People refer other people to me.”

Are his bondsmen running a business out of the Interview room next to 4D? “No,” Handler responded.

Most court officials say that the interview room is set up to serve lawyers and their clients for privileged private discussion. On three different occasions, when Columbus Alive watched the Interview Room, the only people inside were bail bondsmen. The rules, according to a non-Handler bondsman, are “first-come, first-serve. But, it’s like the Old West. [Handler]’s got Woody Fox, a retired Columbus police officer working as a bondsman. He’s got Al Clark, former chief deputy at the sheriff’s department, and when you go up there, Handler’s got the nerve to tell you that you’re not supposed to be there. ‘No soliciting.’ So now I just sit by the phone and wait for people to call for bonds. It’s cheaper. Everyone over there has their palms out; if you pay one, you’ve got to pay ’em all.”

Handler now appears to be the top gun, but not after a fight—literally. In 1994, the Columbus Dispatch reported that “Bondsman Jack Bates said his nose was bloodied and his face bruised when Mark Glaser, a bondsman with Harvey Handler’s bail bonding agency, struck him in the face on the fourth floor of the Franklin County Municipal Court.”

Ironically, bail bondsmen were supposed to be a thing of the past. In 1972, Ohio Chief Justice C. William O’Neill attacked the Ohio General Assembly for yielding to “pressure from bail bondsmen in rejecting rules for criminal procedure” reforms proposed by the Ohio Supreme Court in January of ’72. In a Dispatch article, O’Neill stated that, “In 90 percent of the cases the bail bondsman renders no service and takes no risk, but keeps his profit.”

By 1974, the Franklin County Municipal Court initiated its Pre-Trial Release Program (PTRP) in hopes of eliminating the need for costly and often unnecessary bond fees in most criminal cases. The era of reform is long over in the Franklin County Municipal Court. Herbert acknowledges in his letter that between January 1, 1996 and September 30, 1996 SMD & HLS Bonding Company wrote far more bonds in Municipal Court than any other firm. The breakdown is as follows: SMD & HLS Bonding Company – 3411; Columbus Bail Bonds – 891; Chuck Brown Bail Bond Agency – 603; International Bonds – 424; Bates Bonding – 52; American Bail Bond Agency – 15; other – 75.

Whether it’s legal or not is a question few judges or court officials care to probe. A cozy relationship exists between bail bondsman Harvey Handler—who manages or controls the four different bail bonding agencies in Columbus—and judges, Clerk of Court officials and court employees. Handler is a major political contributor to judicial and Clerk of Court office candidates and sometimes generous benefactor to court employees.

“Handler runs the fourth floor,” said former bail bondsman Bill Neil. “It’s a protected racket. The reason they like the fourth floor of Muni Court is because the felons are initially arraigned there, even though they’re tried in Common Pleas.

“It’s easy money. They can bail somebody out and they know the charges will be dropped within two weeks in Municipal Court because they have to be tried in Common Pleas. They’re just taking people’s money with no risk involved,” explained Neil.

Neil claims he went “broke in the business. Every two weeks, when the clerks didn’t get paid, I had to spend $50 or $60 to get pizzas…. And I had to give a security guard 30 bucks to pass out my business card.”

Under the current system, for example, if you are arrested for felonious assault and your bond is set at $5,000, you must pay 10 percent, or $500, to the court for an “appearance bond” or $500 to a bail bondsman for a “surety” bond. In the case of an appearance bond, you would get all but 10 percent ($450) back when you appear in court. With a surety bond from a bail bondsman, you would get nothing back when you appear at trial. But if you paid a surety bond and failed to show at trial, the bondsman is legally liable for the entire $5,000 bond.

The type of bonds are set at the judge’s discretion. Judges may also set recognizance bonds and release the defendant without posting any cash.

“Judges vary greatly. When I was in the business, if [Municipal Court Judge] Anne Taylor was on the bench doing arraignments, we took the week off,” Neil explained.

Curiously, Criminal Rule 46 of Ohio Rules of Criminal Procedure concerning the “Pre-trial release in felony cases,” provides that judges should use “personal recognizance” or an “unsecured appearance bond” as the “preferred method of release.” But few judges besides Taylor appear to follow it.

Since the Municipal Court cannot try felony cases, arrested felons are seen by municipal judges primarily for the setting of bond. Court records indicate that arrested felons are routinely arraigned and bonded on the fourth floor of the Municipal Court building and, just as routinely, the charges are dismissed a short time later. Defendants are told that the case will “be dismissed for possible future indictment.”

A grand jury later meets in the Common Pleas Court and holds a hearing. If an indictment is handed up, a summons is usually issued for a Common Pleas court appearance. Thus, what the bail bondsmen know is that there is little or no risk involved in forfeiting a surety bond in Municipal Court since the charges against the defendants will be dismissed. “It’s a scam,” as one bondsman put it. By not carrying over the bonds from the Municipal Court arraignments of felons to Common Pleas Court cases, Handler and other bondsmen are regularly pocketing thousands of dollars in risk-free money. And defendants are often surprised when they are required to repost bond money when they are summoned to Common Pleas Court.

If Municipal Clerk of Courts Herbert, “wanted to put his foot down, he could end this practice tomorrow,” said a S. High Street bondsman critical of Handler. “I’ve practiced in Marion County, Delaware County, Madison County and Franklin County. This is the only place that allows this to go on,” he added.

Herbert, who is up for re-election this year, is on record defending the practices of his court. “…You must realize that surety bonds provide a valuable service to the criminal justice system. Not only do you have agents with a vested interest in catching and returning defendants to court to stand trial for their conduct, but the court holds the security (in the form of a power) that can be executed against for the amount of the bond if the defendant does not return or the agent does not pay the bond.”

Herbert pointed out in a telephone interview Monday that the interview room is “open to the public, attorneys and bondsmen.” While his office is on the fourth floor, he said he was unaware of any soliciting of business by bondsmen. “I have no idea; I don’t police those rooms.” He suggested that Administrative Judge David Fais or Building Manager Bill Charlton would be responsible. “I try to stay out of that area,” Herbert added.

Asked about his relationship with Handler, Herbert acknowledged that Handler is a political contributor to Herbert and other judges and court-related officials, but not a “big donor.” Herbert did term Handler “very supportive” of his own political campaign.

Both Neil and other bondsmen charge that the Clerk’s office allows another infamous “rip-off” of criminal defendants. All bonds include an additional fee collected for the Victims of Crime Fund and the Public Defender’s Office. In felony cases, this amounts to $41: $30 to the Victim’s Fund and $11 to the Public Defenders. When cases are dismissed, or defendants are found not guilty, the money is returned to the bondsman who posted it, not to the defendant who supplied the cash. Legally, the money belongs to the defendants, but all too frequently, bondsmen fail to return the money and pocket it as pure profit. With no court enforcement to return the funds, the bail bondsmen benefit. “Money for nothing,” one bondsman explained. Neil pointed out that since most of the defendants are poor and uneducated, they are “easy marks” who don’t understand the legal system and are unlikely to protest the practice. Plus, their reputation as suspected criminals does not garner much sympathy for their plight.

Asked if the bondsmen are essentially taking defendants’ money twice, Herbert responded, “I suppose they would [be]. You need to ask the prosecutors, they’re the ones that dismiss the cases.”

According to a 1994 Dispatch article, 1,279 defendants released on surety bonds set in Municipal Court skipped bond. Neil and other bail bondsmen charge that Municipal Clerk of Court Herbert and Franklin County Clerk of Courts Jesse Oddi show favoritism to Handler’s firms. “Hell, when I had to pay a bond for a skip, the deputy clerks used to joke that ‘Handler’s guys are never down here,’” said Neil.

The Dispatch article also reported that: “In reality, court officials say more than half of bond forfeitures are set aside by judges. They may forgive the debt at their discretion.” Court records obtained by Columbus Alive indicate that court officials seem to be more forgiving for the Handler firms than others. Take the case of Dean Hinchee, arrested in 1991. Handler posted a $3,500 surety bonded for Hinchee on November 11, 1991. When Hinchee failed to show on January 28, 1992, Handler had 30 days to produce him or forfeit the bond. In a November 1996 billing to the SMD & HLS Bonding Company, a Dean Hinchere is listed instead of Hinchee. Although the names are spelled differently, Alive has obtained copies showing that the case numbers are the same: 29681. In the ’96 Handler billing the court requests only $350 from SMD & HLS Bonding when the full amount that should have been forfeited by Handler in 1992 for Hinchee’s court skip is $3,500.

Either by accident or design, Franklin County Courts are apparently shaving a zero off of Handler’s bond forfeiture bills, in effect billing one of the court’s major political donors at only 10 percent of the amount due.

Asked about the apparent shaving, Herbert said, “It’s currently being litigated” and refused further comment.

Asked about the allegations that bills are being shaved, Handler answered: “Totally incorrect. It doesn’t deserve a response. My attorneys are dealing with it.”

When probed about allegations that court employees have accepted gratuities from Handler and other bail bondsmen, Herbert said, “I don’t think that’s going on; if it is, they need to knock it off. We’re not supposed to be taking anything of value; but it’s a gray area of the law.” Herbert pointed out that, unless there was a quid pro quo, a gift for service, any gratuities or perks provided court officials by bondsmen probably aren’t illegal. “We should avoid the appearance of impropriety, and I’ve instructed my people not to accept any gifts.”

The billing of bondsmen seems to be a haphazard system. Herbert and his deputy clerks reportedly have busied themselves of late putting records into “storage.” This may make it all the more difficult to account for the total amount of forfeited bonds owed the Municipal Court by bond firms. In an independent audit by KPMG Peat Marwick LLP for the period January 1, 1994 through December 31, 1994, the report states that the Municipal Court practices “other than generally accepted accounting principles.” In a June 25, 1996 letter, State Auditor Jim Petro—currently lobbying to head the U.S. General Accounting Office—”accepted” the KPMG report “in lieu of the audit required by Section 117.11 Revised Code.” Petro noted “The Auditor of State did not audit the accompanying financial statements and accordingly, we are unable to express, and do not express an opinion on them.”

The obvious beneficiaries of such a system are not the public or poor and uneducated defendants and their families and friends, but the incumbent judges and clerk candidates who receive political donations, and the bonding companies who benefit from court officials’ lack of oversight.

,

Fight Back – Episode: 01/08/16 The Torture case of Robert Krutko, Franklin County, FBI

2009 Robert Krutko story states business in Key West was destroyed/stolen mob style was to be extradited then tortured in Franklin County Jail on a civil case.

Key West

Fight Back – Episode: 01/08/16 The case of Robert Krutko – See more at: http://www.talktainmentradio.com/shows/fightback.html#sthash.3vRBDnTF.dpuf