Attorney General Mike DeWine is in full-on campaign mode, traveling the state looking for any opportunity to get himself in front of a TV camera where he can often be seen announcing some fancy new initiative. Sadly, when the cameras are gone, and the hard work of actually implementing these initiatives begins, DeWine has moved on to the next press event.
Last month Mike DeWine announced a new task force to help prosecutors bring cases against Internet cafes. He made the announcement before “assisting” with raids (in front of TV cameras, of course) on four cafes in Cuyahoga County. While DeWine was putting on a show for reporters, a Law Director in Chillicothe had to drop charges against an Internet cafe because she couldn’t get the promised assistance from DeWine’s AG’s office. “It was like trying to track down a ghost,” she said.
In December of 2011, DeWine announced another initiative by his office to begin processing untested rape kits from around the state. DeWine said he was going to hire new staff and ultimately process 3000 kits per year (or 250 kits per month).
This week the Dispatch reported that, as of now, only 888 of the 2,984 kits received by the AG’s office have been tested. That’s a backlog of over 2,000 untested kits with a processing rate of just over 50 per month – no where near the promised 250 per month rate.
During his campaign for Attorney General in 2010, DeWine accused then-AG Richard Cordray of not doing enough to ensure the state crime lab, run by the AG’s office, was operating smoothly and avoiding long processing delays and backlogs. He also accused Cordray of spending too much money and time on public relations.
Both claims seem laughable now as we watch DeWine circle the state banging his PR drum while back at the office charges are dropped and unprocessed rape kits stack up.
In a recent statement, David Pepper took DeWine to task:
“Moving these rape kits from one set of shelves in local police stations to another set of shelves in the Attorney General’s office doesn’t bring justice. The fact that the backlog is growing is troubling, and years of delays are simply unacceptable,” Pepper said.
“As Attorney General, I will put a priority on testing these kits rapidly and effectively, bringing justice to victims and locking up the perpetrators. And I will work in partnership with Ohio’s regional crime labs and local law enforcement to get this done more efficiently.”