How do I know despite the Inspector General’s report?? Because it’s in the Inspector General’s report.

When the Inspector General makes a finding that criminal conduct occurs, he normally makes a referral to the prosecutorial authority, before the report is even publicly released, and criminal charges are announced with the report.? In fact, all of his past reports have specifically stated that he was referring the matter to a prosecutorial authority for prosecution of a specifically identified crime.

Charles’ report contains no such statement.? What Charles disingenuously? did was say he was sending a copy of the report to the prosecutors in Franklin County to create the impression, but this would be the first time he did so without his conclusions specifically identifying the crime and person being referred.? This would be the first report Charles made a criminal referral that didn’t do that… and that’s because Charles didn’t actual make a criminal referral.

Lost in all the breathless reporting about Ohio Department of Public Safety Director Cathy Collins-Taylor is that the agencies (the Columbus City Prosecutor or Franklin Prosecutor Ron O’Brien (R)) that have jurisdiction to prosecute the Director had she committed the crimes of perjury or obstruction of justice has noticeably not done so.? In other words, she’s been tarred and feathered over allegations of criminal conduct even though she hasn’t, and won’t, be even charged, let alone convicted.? And the reason is that Charles’ allegations about Collins-Taylor is laughable.

In today’s Columbus Dispatch, one Senate Republican gets it:

Sen. Bill Seitz, a Cincinnati Republican and member of the committee, said the issue was about avoiding political embarrassment for a governor who banned smoking in prisons and didn’t want to “find that his residence is the tobacco warehouse of the central Ohio prison system.”

He said it’s tough to recall details with precision, so he’s inclined to give Collins-Taylor the benefit of the doubt.

“I don’t think you can really say Director Collins-Taylor lied under oath,” Seitz said. “That’s a bit overmuch.”

Unfortunately, Seitz is the only person in the land of the blind who can see.? Another Senate Republican, who himself is a lawyer, actually criticized the Director for the unpardonable sin of exercising her right to be aided in responding to the Inspector General and its questioning, when people like him are publicly accusing her of committing a felony in covering up a “drug” sting before the facts were known.?? Tim Grendell, who stated with certainty based on the perjured testimony in his committee that he deemed was not an important enough risk to warrant preserving such testimony in the event it was perjured that the item was drugs has yet to acknowledge that the Inspect General proved him wrong.? While every reporter in the State has reported that Grendell has announced he will hold even more hearings about whether Collins-Taylor told the truth, not a single reporter in Ohio has confronted Grendell on the actual perjury that has occurred in his committee by Booker and Henderson.

A.? Collins-Taylor’s statements do not constitute perjury.

Perjury is defined in section 2921.11 of the Ohio Revised Code as a third-degree felony.? Had Collins-Taylor committed perjury in the course of the Inspector General’s investigation, then it would be prosecuted by Republican Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien, who has announced no intention to charge Collins-Taylor.

Read that again: the Republican county prosecutor has declined to prosecute a Democratic appointee of the Strickland Administration.

And here’s why.? In his report, Charles basically says there are only two areas that he alleges Collins-Taylor “lied:”

  1. about the timing of her decision to “shut down” the operation;
  2. did not tell the truth about her reasoning for the decision.

(emphasis added.) (Pg. iv of the Report).

Of course, there are factual problems in Charles’ assertions.? First, the operation wasn’t cancelled at all; it was scaled back.? Second, Ohio Highway Patrol Superintendent David Dicken testify the decision to scale back the operation was his, and nobody with first hand knowledge of the decision contradicts him.

In fact, Charles himself acknowledged that the Patrol was stationed at the Mansion to conduct the “original operation plan” if the Patrol was unable to locate the inmate’s wife in time.? (pg. 30).? So how could an operation be “shut down,” and yet, conduct the “original operation plan” at the same time??? Charles cannot say.

But regardless, even if the decision had been made by Collins-Taylor, there’s no basis for a perjury allegation.? In order to make a case for perjury, the issue must first be a material factual issue.? Whether the decision to do the original plan only if the inmate’s wife could not be stopped first was made Saturday morning or Friday night is not really a material issue to the investigation.? At least, Charles fails to offer any explanation why this supposed factual dispute would be matieral.

The second issue is a difference of opinion.? Charles’ entire rationale is that because he (as an ex-Patrol Superintendent) agrees with those officers that safety was not an issue with the original plan, therefore, Collins-Taylor must be lying when she said there was concerns about officer and protected officials’ safety.

Yet Charles’ own report contradicts his assertion that this was no more dangerous than a traffic stop.? After all, how many traffic stops involving using the Patrol’s SWAT team?? Second, Charles finds incidents that these inmates have attempted to smuggle dangerous weapons into the prison and had access on the grounds to dangerous items that could be used by a desperate inmate cornered by a “raid” that would result in even more prison time for that inmate?

What could possibly go wrong?

Of course the defenders of the plan say there were no risk because the investigation lead to the DRC keeping the scheduled inmates from working at the prison, so there was no risk because the inmates were eliminated…then why did the operation plan require the use of the Patrol’s SWAT team?

Why, if the threat was already eliminated did a van full of the Patrol’s tactical officers wait to pounce on a single package being left on the property of a neighbor to the Governor’s residence (who apparently was never advised his property was being used by the Patrol to conduct this sting)?

Why doesn’t the fact that the inmates involved would not be there be a perfectly reasonable explanation of scaling back the operation?? Why the push by some in the Patrol to use the SWAT?? Is it because someone in the Patrol was gunning for headlines using the words “SWAT” “drug raid” and “Governor’s Mansion?”? It’s not a crazy question we asked given the extent that Booker and Henderson have gone to try to generate such headlines after their plan was scaled back.

If the Governor and the officers in his security detail were under no threat from this drop, then why did the original plan call for a massive use of force to seize… a package?

Charles cannot answer that question because it leads to the inescapable conclusion that this entire investigation was being motivated by political consideration itself.? It’s the only conclusion you can reach when you notice to the extent that the officers pushing for the “raid” on the Governor’s Mansion ignored all the available evidence at the time that the item was likely tobacco, and therefore, no actual criminal activity was taking place.

The other problem is that Charles ignores that its entire appropriate for the Patrol to conduct a sting operation at the Governor’s Mansion differently than one would say a flophouse.? The security concerns are different in both.

For example, law enforcement finds out a known and dangerous violent drug dealer with outstanding warrants is hiding out in a house.? He’s likely well armed and dangerous, but alone.? Imagine the operational plan to effectuate his arrest.

SWAT Now, imagine the police know that there are small children in the house.? Anyone think operational plan wouldn’t be different?? Anyone want to accuse the police for acting out of political concerns to scale back such a plan under such circumstances?

Yet, that’s the entire case made by Thomas Charles against the Ohio Department of Public Safety.? Charles’ entire report sits on the conclusion that it was unquestionably reasonable to conduct a SWAT raid on the Governor’s Mansion while the Governor and First Lady hosted a dinner party with former U.S. Senator John Glenn and his wife in order for the Patrol being able to seize a package that in all likelihood was not even part of a criminal act.? And that for anyone to question this and scale back the operation was an unjustified act of political interference.

B.? Charles accuses the Ohio Department of Public Safety of “obstructing” his investigation… because it catalogued the documents it was producing.

The Inspector General accused Cathy Collins-Taylor of “obstructing” his investigation… because her office Bates stamped the documents they produced.

Bates stamping is standard practice in large scale document production.? It is actually more shocking for me to learn that any other State agency doesn’t utilize Bates stamping.? All it does is put a sequential identifier that helps organize the documents being produced and reduces the risk of a dispute over what documents were and were not produced.? It also provides the parties an easy method of identifying and referring to documents in the future.

Charles claims the ODPS accused his office of altering records.? I’m going on a limb here and saying it’s more like “leaking.”? Charles is a notorious leaker.? How bad is Charles as a leaker?? Well, WBNS was able to report on Charles’ conclusions the night before his office made the report public in this case.? Put a Bates stamp on a document and see it on Randy Ludlow’s blog postings, and then suddenly there’s no question where it came from.? Charles hates that.

It even suggest that Bates stamping is tantamount to criminal obstruction is laughable that I cannot believe it has been ridiculed in the media.

While every media outlet in Ohio was quick to publish the accusations, none have given more than just scratch the surface of the actual merits.?

Charles’ report would be a joke except he does point out very valid concerns with the lax security and supervision of these honor inmates which must seriously be addressed.? But he simply loses credibility when he accuses Kathy Collins-Taylor of “lying” and “obstruction.”

Republican State Senator Bill Seitz gets it.? I get it.? What’s wrong with us?

 
  • Parkviewer

    This is an excellent analysis of the IG's report and the Dispatch's breathless attempt at gotcha journalism. Modernesquire offers a thorough legal brief on how to conduct Collins-Taylor's defense (and others) and how to debunk some of the “obstruction” language in the report. Also, he is right that Charles is a notorious “leaker” and may have longstanding “comlications” in his relationship with the Patrol, its career officers and its political leadership that turns over with administrations he has served under. As a “neighbor” and “observer” of inside workings of the Gov's Residentce for many years, I know that the OHP Exec Protection unit rules the Residence roost — and should to protect the First Families. This “sting” smells like an attempt by OHP investigators to operate around this “secret service type” unit. And it looks like Charles — for his own reasons — came down on the side of the “investigators” from which he sprang rather than the EP unit in this “turf war” with the department. Modern is probably correct in his ” inescapable conclusion that this entire investigation was being motivated by political consideration itself. ” That's the nature of “career officers” within the state bureaucracy throughout all departments — including OHP. So Modern's keen legal analysis is correct — especially in the courts — but not for the Court of Public Opinion for 2010. I doubt at this point that Strickland should or will continue to stand by his Public Safety Director. Ted has has tough election ahead and cannot tolerate any more problems in that department. He would be well-served if his top staff had a conversation that led to a voluntary departure of Collins-Taylor before the Senate bounces her. Also, if the inmate program HAS developed into a “mule station” on Parkview in Bexley, his EP unit would be rendering a public (and political) service to lead a Residential crackdown that involves cleanup crews from both OHP and the prison system. And do it fast and efficiently by mid-summer. Legal vulnerabilities and rights of the accused Public Safety leaders is one thing. Public perception of a mansion running amok under the Gov's nose is quite another. And it's totally unacceptable between now and Nov. 2.

  • Pingback: I.G. accuses Strickland Director of not admitting to facts… then releases transcript showing she did.()

  • Karmaz Abitch

    I beg to differ that any credibility is lost in calling Cathy Collins-Taylor exactly what she is…a liar. I am sure that she will slide into another politically appointed cushy job in which she is completely unqualified after she is finished defaming the Highway Patrol and assisting the Governor in ruining his career.
    Karma is a b*tch CCT. You should be ashamed of yourself but that would mean you have a conscience which I know couldn't be further from the truth.

  • modernesquire

    Except that the I.G.'s own interview transcripts shows that she never lied. The entire lie argument was based on that she refiused to acknowledge that the word “boss” in the e-mail referred to the Governor. And yet, her transcript shows she did just that.

    Collins-Taylor was more than adequately qualified for the position of Director of Public Safety. Sounds like you hold a grudge.

    She hasn't defamed the Patrol. That's just a ridiculous charge that you cannot even back up.

  • karmazabitch

    I'm sure I am one of a long list of people that hold a grudge…and for good reason. I would like to know exactly how she was qualified for that position? She has a degree, she hid inside police headquarters for her entire career doing polygraphs and stealing money from the city by double dipping and using the city's equipment. She and her husband exploit the FOP to network and create political connections. She has absolutely no experience in leading ANYTHING! Oh wait I forgot, she was the first female motorcycle cop-that must be it? Please enlighten me on her qualifications for anything besides kissing ass prior to her first political appointment.

    As far as defaming the OSHP, I would tend to say the fact that they are currently embroiled in a very ugly public power struggle under her hand giving the public the impression that they and their investigations are tainted controlled by politicians, as she has been her entire career, is not exactly a positive. Most likely this would not be something a potential employer would like to see on a resume-“I am able to take direction, follow through with orders and not assert my opinion in any way”-that is someone I would hire for a management position in my company-NOT! Perhaps we should poll the men and women that push a cruiser on the highways for OSHP and see how proud they are of their leadership.

    If she never lied-let's hook her up to her polygraph and see how she performs??

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