Monday, April 2, 2007

Today's Bennett Hearing in Franklin County Postponed

For those who've (wisely) not kept up with Bob Bennett's costly-in-many ways shenanigans to try to keep up a (-n appearance of a?) fight to keep his job on the Cuyahoga board of elections, there are currently two issues he's brought, for which taxpayers are footing Bennett's legal bills: a motion for a temporary restraining order to stop the already compromised-upon, already-delayed date of his removal hearing, next Monday; and a lawsuit against Secretary of State Brunner, claiming that her call for his resignation is unconstitutional, that she can only use evidence occurring since January, when she's been in office, etc. Both of these devious, dragging-feet moves are obviously useless and completely unsupportable, a complete waste of taxpayer money and time, a further weakening of and already overstressed Cuyahoga board staff even as they prepare for May's election, and yet another in a long series of toxicities he's long proffered to Cuyahoga voters. Rather than leaving with grace, he's further ruining what little decent reputation he might have left even with his own Ohio GOP party. These are the moves of a panicked, not powerful man, out of touch with the people, the law and reality.
The hearing scheduled for today in Franklin County, regarding Bennett's motion for a restraining order to stop next Monday's Cuyahoga Board removal hearing in Euclid, Ohio was postponed.

In her news release today, the Secretary of State states:
Hearing Slated for Today Postponed

For Immediate Release

Columbus, OH - April 2, 2007 - The state's chief election officer, Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner, has been advised by the Office of Attorney General Marc Dann, that Franklin County Common Pleas Court Judge Patrick Sheeran has recused himself from today's hearing which was slated for 1:30 p.m. Judge Sheeran, along with several other judges, recused themselves. Secretary Brunner served as a Judge in the Franklin County Common Pleas Court prior to running for Secretary of State.

Last week, Cuyahoga County Board of Elections member Robert Bennett filed a motion to temporarily restrain Brunner from moving forward with a removal hearing in Cleveland against him. Bennett is the only remaining member of the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections after Brunner sought the entire board's resignation and received three out of four.

At this time it is uncertain as to when the hearing will be rescheduled.


Media contacts:
Patrick Gallaway, Director of Communications (614) 752-2450
Jeff Ortega, Assistant Director of Communications-Media (614) 466-0473.

With so many judges not wanting to touch this case, either we're seeing real judicial integrity, or the corrosive effects of a long-time, "take no prisoners" bully in Bennett, or both. I hope it weights toward the former, for Ohio still has a lot of rebuilding from previous corrupt deal-makings to do. It would certainly add to rational hope, knowing that there really does exist some integrity from which to build.

For Sheeran, in my brief research of his judicial history, I did find that before 2005, he was a prosecutor, until he was appointed by GOP Governor Taft, to fill a vacant judicial seat. Hearing this case may not have been healthy for his political career.

Very few think of the strong relationship between election integrity (or not) and judicial departments, at least until recently with the Gonzales case. Often case law, determines previously undefined election procedures. Recently some of the previously dismissed federal lawyers cited the administration's penchant for only having attorneys and judges in the Department of Justice, who would skew decisions for insider election manipulation and corporate crony greed benefit.
And locally, rarely have I found in my research, that election lawsuits brought by parties who feel wronged by the CCBOE, that a plaintiff can actually win. ( That too was unusual in the CCBOE January recount rigging trial.) Rather such cases seem usually summarily decided that the board can do no (and they state, intentional) wrong, under the same mantra that the board puts out for the many wrongs they push on the electorate - that "no election is perfect." It's an "extraordinary circumstance" that finds even an extraordinarily bad BOE, to be recognized as such in public.

Judges are elected, in often the races to which few pay much attention. It has been to their benefit to keep the election officials happy and looking good, which in turn, benefits the election officials. A comfortable closed circle.

With Bennett filing the useless motion that was to be heard today, for a temporary restraining order to try to delay his removal hearing next Monday; AND filing a lawsuit against Secretary of State Brunner, at whom's "pleasure" he is legally to be serving, and for which legal fees, we the taxpayers are paying, we can all can see exactly WHY he needs to be removed.

Let's find a judge willing to hear the motion, deny it and move on, or better yet for Bennett and for all of us, let Bennett finally and immediately do the right thing and resign.

Bennett's years of power games are over in Cuyahoga and controlling our "elections", and he cannot even see it. His behavior is neither winning him friends, nor "political capital" as his leader Mr. Bush so often terms his own unfounded assumptions of support.

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