Monday, May 19, 2014

Confirmed: Sheriff's Office is behind the attack on the Indy Coroner, all the rest is fluff-n-mirrors using grieving families as pawns

After 1 full day of trial, both sides came into the 2nd day a bit worn down.  But the Defense still seemed much better prepared, particularly later on when the Prosecution couldn't find crucial evidence that they could then only merely claim did exist.

In that crucial claiming attempt, the prosecuting attorney (Bradley Braun) demanded that the court disbelieve the coroner (who said she had not ever rejected the Sheriff's men's help, particularly not from Chief Schadle) and the court should believe instead the conflicting (lying? for some reason, or simply wrongheaded interpretation) claim of the Chief Deputy (John Schadle) that she had rejected his offer in the initial negotiations in the 2hour effort at smooth changing of the guard time (when the old coroner retired in December 2012).

That negotiation was recorded and is accessible on the Varnau website for public assessing of public records and Varnau had just reviewed that recording the night before in anticipation of likely plaintiff-claims (since Schadle's testimony triggered that expectation on trialday 1) and she said she had found no mis-interpretable content. That lady does her homework.

The court tolerated a nearly half hour delay while the prosecution TEAM of Braun, Hawkins and an assistant went into a private area to search the CD for something to make their claim seem valid. The judge's patience eventually declined to wait any further, after even asking if they hadn't at least even captured it in transcribed form.

Totally disgraced as competent if not as truthful, but that didn't deter the bombastic Braun or induce him to tone down any bit of his unsupported claiming, not even after seeing how many, not just that one 'missing' evidence piece, of their inflammatory claims were explained away in the reality of law enforcement and its law-based division of responsibility in normal small county law enforcement.

For example, the inciting-horror scene of one next of kin finding a piece of their loved-one's skull on the mantle and taking it to the coroner and asking what to do with it in a flurry of outraged expectations, we saw those crowd-inciting claims melt away in the testimony on the reality of the events.

When the event of the skull-mutilated body discovery was testified to, it turned out that the body was found in a darkened room and the deputy chose to advise the coroner to NOT TURN ON THE LIGHT SWITCH AS IT MIGHT BE BOOBY TRAPPED, based on his opinion of the likelihood that such a planned suicide as he was considering this scene to be was sometimes set up to destroy those who discovered the body by booby trapping some feature that would need attention from those coming on the scene. And the darkened room seemed suspicious to him. And she complied as a good team player does. Hence the investigation proceeded BY FLASHLIGHT since there was no one to relieve that fear in some cautious forensic-science way.

Consequently the victim's head, the top of which was in smithereens, with blood, brain tissue, skin and bone fragment sections plastered on the ceiling, the curtains, everywhere was not so easily reassembled to determine 'missing' piece identities. The coroner gathered as much as was possible under the flashlight circumstances and sent the puzzle pieces with the body in the EMT's body bag to the hospital morgue, meticulously as possible under time pressure, but obviously not ceiling stuff, nor curtain stuff. The relative arrived much later with the skull fragment at a point after the body had been reduced to ash in a ceremonial cremation, leaving not much to be done with the kin's horror but to suggest a contemporary-style private burial for the skull-piece with a symbolic life-surviving tree planting to mark the decedent's passage.

Once the reality of the blood splashed, flash-light search disaster was before the courtroom's eyes, instead of conceding that one of the Plaintiff's grievances was answered decently, the desperate ploy used by Braun was to scowl and demand that the Coroner should have sent the piece to the funeral director to be cremated as well, IGNORING THE REALITY OF THE COST TO THE KIN OF A SECOND FIRING OF THE FULL SIZE KILN. Morons running the prosecution were in evidence. Yet the courtroom failed to show any cognition of stupidity and disgust at that ploy, possibly since the horror of the scene and the reality of flashlights scanning for fragments of brain tissue and skin and bone had most in shock.

Similarly, the pumped up outrage of 'evidence destruction' over the coroner's cleaning the face of the decedent in a possibly (remotely) suspicious death, was just the Coroner making the deceased presentable for the decedent's parents after the deceased was in the hospital morgue, and after the initial photos and evidence gathering was done... so that the parents would see a more recognizable son.

Other evidence-loss claims similarly melted in the open description of the events, such as the outrageously stupid idea that the coroner was supposed to have taken fingerprints off a gun and gunpowder residues off the body as part of her cause, manner and mode of death investigation when plainly such evidence responsibilities were the Sheriff's burden as finding WHO-DONE-IT, not the medical cause, manner nor mode.

Yet Braun demanded repeatedly such phrases that described crucial evidence-destruction, families deprived of consolation, etc be kept in the court's ears as the testimony's content, as if the discovery of what was IN THE LAW'S DEFINITION OF SHERIFF'S RESPONSIBILITIES had never emerged into view. An obvious stonewalling of truth, no truth-seeking nor fact-finding reverence, by Braun and the prosecution group, ever.

Not even after the Coroner from Highland County testified that such sorts of evidence were not part of a Coroner's professional training nor was any law-mandated requirement. The insiders did say that when dealing with the big city operations where Coroner's had roomfuls of technicians that more extensive services were sometimes provided, but not in small counties.

As we've heard from other sources, the Coroner uses part of her salary to supply extra deputies, one a medical colleague from her office whom she shares obstetric time-challenges with and the other a law enforcement investigator otherwise retired. End of conversation on public care for responsibilities at the Coroner's Office.

By contrast, the Sheriff's Office has had a couple of budget battles in which they extorted extra funding from the County's limited resources in order to hire extra people at the jail (demanding that the county pay even more to house what the Chief Deputy considered to be inadequately monitored inmates at the Butler County jail) and in the most recent battle demanding, in court combat with the County Commissioners, that the County pay ever more of the Sheriff's legal expenses.

This jail expense extortion has been compounded by (subsequent to hiring more deputies, possibly even including Schadle's son) two 'suicides' at the jail. The last one, the Goldson case, was investigated by the current Coroner. The previous death (just 2 years before Goldson) was not even investigated by the prior coroner, whose recollection failed as to his involvement, which absence is not something on tape, unfortunately for improving his recollection.

Guess what has happened with the current investigation: the marks on the victim's neck were consistent with strangulation NOT HANGING, as the jail staff claim happened. AND Chief Schadle's role (with his son being among the four on duty at the time) was to remove evidence including the sprinkler head supposedly used for the deed (ignoring the manufacturer's claim that it was suicide-proof which is accomplished by making the sprinkler head break off at 40 pounds of stress), as well as erasing the hallway security film within the week, not preserving it (though after the row that arose over this, Schadle claimed he gave 'a copy' to BCI). That 'suicide/homicide' was just about as long ago as it would take a bunch of socio-pathic villains to trump up this inflated bunch of charges against the Coroner who refused to back down on her evidence of homicide, not suicide.

Considering that the Ohio Bureau of Crime Investigations has not yet issued its report on this homicide/suicide dispute, taking extreme caution in hurry-avoidance, the incidents surrounding the jail were off limits in the Coroner's case, and so this is supposed to be just held in abeyance. But it fits the pattern of why the anti-coroner-evidence in this county-uproar of supposed outrage, is dissolving under the glare of examination of the circumstances.

Ditto the bandied-about-in-the-press interviews full of shock-n-awe do dissolve, with claims made by the cocky prosecution spreading accusatory slander about the one case involving money. The incident where the deputy coroner had taken money from the decedent's wallet and given it away to someone other than the Sheriff, with the Braun suggesting malfeasance, at the very least, fizzled. It turned out that the deputy had put the money in the coroner's safe until next of kin could be determined and finally gave it to some party (with receipt) who showed powers of attorney documents and with no next of kin found nearby. To which Braun then tried to save his own face by changing his accusations and now exclaiming that the Coroner was 'acting as a probate judge', with that scolding, scowling about practicing law without a license, and thereby attempting to divert sensible recognition that he was concealing the function of the decedent's executor and those who have custody of what's owed to the decedent, as well as the probate judge's role in simply overseeing the recordkeeping presented to the judge by the executor. Total gaming the truth by Braun.

And then come the gun handling stories. The annoyance of the faulty claiming by Braun was evident in one astute observer's comparison of 'who was jeopardizing the public'. Consider their analysis:

"The one thing that really irks me is this.  They blame Dr. Judi Varnau for not taking the gun at the Zachary Adamson case after Dep. Crawford removed it from her body-scene and her assistant called 911 to have the SO come pick it up and they wouldn't do so, where Zachary's roommate, the roommate's sister and both of the roommates' parents were present, with other guns in the house, and we're supposed to believe that it was Dr. Judi Varnau's big fault to give the gun to the roommate after the sheriff's deputy had taken it for his purposes.

Then on the other hand the Sheriff's Office responds to Blue Sky Park Road where Joshua Carter had shot himself with a gun, same as Zachary Adamson, only people were standing around outside the house.  The Sheriff's deputies leave the gun on the floor, the door open, and put yellow "CRIME SCENE" tape up around the house, indicating it is a crime scene, and then the sheriff's deputies completely leave the scene unattended, the life squad leaves, and the coroner hasn't even arrived on the scene.

Which instance are we supposed to believe is more dangerous to the public? Where the coroner doesn't take the gun with her who has no place to store a firearm or any other evidence from a scene, or the SO abandoning the gun when he not only has a place to store guns and evidence, but leaves a gun completely accessible to anyone who wanted to come in and pick it up and use it on someone else?"

Every time we tallied it, the prosecution's case was dissolving (though their rhetoric continued full blast) in each fact-found, logical explanation, with no real stretch of imagination. It wasn't that the answers didn't fit together in vague ways. The picture of each event was clearly showing that the prosecution's charges were fraudulent or at least so malfeasant in investigation and case-preparation, that their effort was nothing more than loud marketing of shocking claims without substance.

By comparison, Tom Eagle, the Varnau family lawyer's defense, was thoroughly prepared -- to ask the scene-developing questions, and when an opposing witness developed 'amnesia' (like the Sheriff and a couple Deputies), Tom Eagle reached over the defense table and activated a media file, from sources like the 911-operator or the sheriff's communications records to "refresh" their curiously amnesia-plagued memories. And sure enough, they recalled the events as described.

And the memory-battle with Schadle, where he admitted (with help) to gathering 'evidence' against the Coroner and had collaborated with others in order to cause this case to happen, was justified by Braun as being 'necessary to protect his deputies'. From what did they need protection, the Goldson homicide charge? or from what other possibility specifically that was not in view anywhere. Clearly if the 'outside' use of the grieving kin in BC deaths could be made to weaken the coroner's credibility, then the SO would have a credible chance to force (in court if necessary) the discrediting of the Coroner's opinion of 'homicide' at the Jail. What does it look like to you? To this writer, it certainly looks like the Sheriff's Office USED THE GRIEVING FAMILIES AS PAWNS. TO COVER THEIR OWN CRIMES, whether commission or negligence with complicity in covering it up. And if all was so calm between the SO and the previous coroner, including the jail house 'suicide' in 2011, what else was not too kosher in the Sheriff's administration of 'Justice' and 'Law'n'Order' when the prior coroner simply showed his face only when asked to by the SO. How much criminality is in progress at the SO, and likely not just at death scenes?

The only 'crime' that showed up as an error by the Coroner, was the posting of some documents at her website without proper redacting of the privacy matters. And as soon as the error was reported to her, she immediately had it fixed. And she acknowledged that error and apologized in court for the discomfort caused as her responsibility. This fine woman, had been chosen for high level responsible positions in the military, and done a stellar job, judging by her ascendence up the ranks from second lieutenant to being in charge of nearly three hundred staff in medical operations, stateside as well as oversees, and had in her early days seen action in Vietnam, tending troops in locations where there was active rocketfire. The comparison to the scurvy Sheriff and Chief Deputy is night and day. The only thing now is to await the decision to be formally written by Judge Kessler, who throughout the trial managed a credibly fact-finding focusing, and fair-handed operation, that hasn't been seen in Brown County in years. We don't suppose he'd like to come out of retirement and run here or we'd be elated.

Friday, May 16, 2014

BrownCounty Coroner Varnau vs the Sheriff & his engineered ouster of the Coroner -- TrialDay 1

Day 1 -- May 14, 2014...
Grey clouds would sweep across the sky, dropping torrents onto parts of Brown County during the mid-afternoon. Before that, it was bright and sunny, letting those involved with the Varnau case enter the Courthouse without any concern about being drenched. Bradley Braun, one of the prosecting attorneys, came smugly swaggering into the courtroom and that attitude was, likewise, reflected when he questioned the first witnesses (Judith Varnau and Officer Huff). After a few questions in which Dr Varnau exhibited good control of information, he became exceedingly defensive when Judith Varnau was answering his questions and insisted she stick with 'yes or no' answers, even though previous answers had shown the needed answers were more complex than simply 'yes or no.' In fact, that he waited til seeing the pattern of competence of his target victim, and then suddenly changing and hostilely insisting she just answer 'yes or no' would indicate to the observant observer that he must've not liked her previous answers... Now what about her detailed explanations would've triggered that? Maybe he is too impatient to let someone other than himself have their say...except he asked for details from the following witness rather than keep them hidden.

Which leads some observers to believe that maybe Varnau's details would've destroyed his case and he needed to keep them hidden. Either way his arrogant, huffy attitude was clear despite him repeatedly mixing up names and seeming rather unprepared for the trial. You could see that it seemed like the judge was getting frustrated with Mr Braun's questions. In contrast Defendant Varnau's family atterney, Tom Eagle, came across as 'ready'... as though he'd actually prepared for the trial. Even in the one instance where he couldn't remember a street name, he did remember the people's name's involved in the 'events' being testified to and even graciously admitted it was his fault...something Mr Braun *never* did.

Instead Braun's attitude would make one wonder about his attitude and commitment to 'fact-finding' and 'truth-seeking', much less wonder about his hostility in which he incessantly descended into horrible slanderous preludes to the actual question (which 'question' would be all the witness was to speak to) when he was evidently more interested in lambasting his victim.

Even when someone didn't give the answer Mr. Eagle was looking for Mr Eagle admitted that he must've not phrased the question correctly and proceeded to rephrase the question so it basically meant the same thing with added touches for the witness' viewpoint, which got a more specific answer. Fact-finding exonerated.

Because there are four different brain types, because there are more personalities than just follow-the-leader-wanting-prosecution, different people will have different responses to each and very question. Mr. Eagle made it clear that he could properly communicate with any of those people, unlike Mr Braun's rigid inflexibility toward the witnesses.

Now, the testimony itself had some gems of information despite Mr Braun's seeming attempts to prevent it. For example Judith Varnau was the first witness Mr Braun called and he started out having her state her qualifications (strictly as coroner, no history) and established that her duties as coroner, under the law, involved only determining the manner, cause and mode of death. They didn't include preserving the crime scene, nor crossing crime scene tape without authorization, nor taking fingerprints, nor removing anything from the scene that's outside the body and the near vicinity. The prosecution went on from there to have her identify pieces of such was an email wherein she withdrew from the 1st agreement between her office and the Sheriff. He'd tried getting her to 'admit' to withdrawing from all 3 agreements they'd had, but he failed. He even failed at keeping it hidden why she'd withdrawn from the agreement. SHE HAD WITHDRAWN BECAUSE THE SHERIFF'S RULES HAD FAILED and someone died, possibly because of his rule.

So one must wonder why would she, why would anyone, remain in an agreement that wasn't servicing public need while being honored and was a danger to citizens...but that isn't something the Prosecution would want people to think about. It would ruin their case!

Later on Mr Braun would bring up that Varnau had a car towed with a body in the backseat before an examination could be done, 'hinting' that it smacked of 'disrespect' for the dead. In response Varnau would reveal that it was BCI (Bureau of Crime Investigation) that ordered the car towed so they could examine evidence in the car without the January pouring rain all around. At the obvious realization of the courtroom observers' likely reaction to freezing rain, deep mud requiring tractors and middle of the night timing, this brought about, Mr Braun then hastily switched to asking whether it wasn't true that in a later instance Varnau was the one who suggested another car be towed for her own comfort. To which Varnau responded that no she hadn't, that she'd "asked whether it should be towed." Asked, not suggested. Keep in mind this was after BCI ordered the first car towed before any investigation was done...thereby setting an example that anyone would ask about the second time around. Varnau did what anyone else would in her situation because, remember, she's not in charge of crime scene preservation as the prosecution kept implying as damaging for citizen safety and sense of anger.

The attempt to establish that Varnau hadn't been delivering guns to the sheriff's office backfired quite thoroughly too, first while Mr Braun questioned Varnau and she established that she had asked the Sheriff officers to take weapons that they had moved in their safety examination for spent shells and hazard, and that was confirmed when Mr Eagle cross-examined Officer Huff. (Mr Eagle had occasional objections to the 'inept' Braun questions but in this Plaintiff-selected witness-calling strategy, Varnau was not 'cross-examined' or in any way questioned/interviewed by her own lawyer, but instead would be expecting to be planning on Eagle calling her later). The second witness was, as mentioned, Officer Huff. The one, actually notable question from prosecution was whether an investigation was ongoing when Varnau stepped in a 'pool' of blood by the victim's dead. Officer Huff said "Yes," paused, "I believe so." It was then established in cross-examination that the pause meant that Officer Huff wasn't certain about what was 'ongoing'. Likewise it was earlier established that Varnau's duty WASN'T CRIME SCENE PRESERVATION, and Officer Huff testified he hadn't pointed out where she shouldn't step. According to testimony it would've been a rather terribly bloody scene, with bits of body tissue splattered ceiling to floor. In richer county's that mess would have triggered a summons to crime scene crew that specialize in disaster cleanup/sanitation. Obviously not in BC. Officer Huff also testified that a physician like Varnau wouldn't be the appropriate person, nor have the appropriate training for reliably handling unfamiliar firearms. He would also be willing to take firearms from Varnau, it had been testified that Varnau had asked the officer present to take firearms before. It was the SHERIFF that put policy in place preventing that from happening, that she must 'deliver' them, and they were not to simply 'take' them. Imagine that! Which the officer did imagine and acknowledged that it was 'absurd' policy, which leads to the conclusion that the Coroner is not the one making absurd policies.

Even more absurd was the later 'explanation' by Chief Schadle that he had instructed his deputies such because he feared that Dr Varnau would unreliably bring charges against them for bogus reasons of her own creation. So far, they produced no sign of Dr Varnau suing anyone. In fact her reputed letter to the Attorney General (for clarification of her responsibility) was her fear in the beginning of her term of office that giving firearms and/or evidence to Schadle's deputies would involve her in a later lawsuit by a slicker lawyer, who (to protect a client-suspect) would uncover the Supreme Court's error in calculating timing (known as 'laches') and promote the claim that the deputies had no validly issued authority to operate and then the coroner would have tampered with proper handling of evidence to thus release a suspect on invalid prosecution defenses.

None of the Courts (all the way to the Supreme Court) where her husband had pursued Wenninger's credentials lawful validity claims, had ever dealt with the merits of the credentials issues and only dismissed the cases on technicalities of timing (first too soon in some tangle of quo warranto etc, then too late by an error in OSC's calculation of 'laches'). So there was no reason, out of fear of a humanly sensibly cautious woman doctor, for any sane manager of police operations to decently make such an insane rule as was seen in court. Not just in firearms, but most absurdly in firearms, making the pretense of it being a public safety issue in the press's opinion.

Further, it is ridiculous to think that a doctor, one not 'qualified' to handle firearms, could dictate Sheriff Office policy on investigation work outside the medical body-related areas. So why do the prosecution lawyers have the nerve to circulate petitions (other than hearse-chasing for income) to citizens with no decent chance to gather such a wide scope of data, from esoteric law content to memos to myriad event circumstances. And how do these hearse-chasing lawyers get the nerve to openly and boldly mouth their badly researched charges in open court before a judge who would hopefully have some familiarity with the reality of law content and law enforcement.

More to come, maybe when the Sheriff gets on the stand for TrialDay2.