On Monday Ohio State Representative John Becker (R-Union Township, Clermont County) filed a motion with the Ohio Twelfth District Court of Appeals to strike down a brief Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost filed with the court.
AG Yost filed the amicus curiae (friend of the court) brief on behalf of Clermont County Prosecutor D. Vincent Faris who Becker is attempting to make investigate charges Becker made against Ohio’s governor.
Becker and Faris ended up in the district appellate court after Becker filed a Private Citizen Affidavit (PCA) on September 28 in Clermont County. As The Ohio Star reported, in the PCA Becker alleged Ohio Governor DeWine committed 7 felonies and 3 misdemeanors as a result of his managing the state’s COVID response.
Five hours after receiving the PCA, Clermont County Prosecutor Faris stated “I have reviewed the paperwork and do not find a basis for the filing of a complaint pursuant to this Private Citizen’s Affidavit.”
“I’m very disappointed by Prosecutor Faris’ failure to perform his clear legal duty under the law,” Becker said in a released statement provided to The Star.
Consequently, Becker filed a writ of mandamus with the Twelfth Circuit Court of Appeals in an effort for the court to force Faris to investigate the charges listed in the PCA – Becker claims under Ohio Revised Code 2935.01(A) that Faris is required to do a legitimate investigation.
The writ of mandamus influenced Yost to file his brief – saying the action “warrants no expenditure of law enforcement resources.”
If the affidavit had said the governor turned into a werewolf at midnight and knocked over a liquor store, it should be dismissed on its face.
Representative Becker’s affidavit is equally absurd — and warrants no expenditure of law enforcement resources. https://t.co/u4mFIFepth
— Dave Yost (@Yost4Ohio) October 7, 2020
Yost called for Becker to be sanctioned with court fees and forced to spend a day observing court cases to get a better understanding of how frivolous filings are a drain on the judicial system.
Yost believes Prosecutor Faris satisfied the statutory requirement of conducting an investigation by simply reading the PCA, according to Becker.
“Of course, I believe the plain meaning of the word investigation means more than that. Consider Merriam-Webster’s definition: ‘to observe or study by close examination and systematic inquiry,” said Becker.
Black’s Law Dictionary defines investigation as: a term that means to examine and to look at carefully, discover the factor, make a legal inquiry. Example: Police conducted a thorough investigation of the accusations of wrongdoing made against the council member, but they could not file charges because they were unable to find any corroborating evidence.”
Becker fired back in his motion on Monday asking for Yost to be sanctioned, demanding his resignation and calling his brief an attempt to “harass, intimidate and bully the people of Ohio.”
The Star reached out to Attorney General Dave Yost.
Yost’s Communications Director Bethany McCorkle said “he laughed” when asked if AG Yost read Representative Becker’s Monday filing.
Clermont County Prosecutor D. Vincent Faris has until the week of November 9 to respond to Becker’s writ of mandamus in the Twelfth District Court of Appeals. “This is their opportunity to answer my allegations,” said Becker in a Wednesday interview with The Star.
Faris may file a motion to dismiss – in such case, Becker has the opportunity to respond.
According to Becker, PCAs have been filed in “Clermont, Montgomery, Miami, Wood, Lake, Richland, Adams, Lorain, Allen and Marion counties, with inquiries from ‘people in about 40 other counties.’”
The Star will report on any breaks or updates in this ongoing story.
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Jack Windsor is Managing Editor at both The Ohio Star and The Michigan Star. Windsor is also an Investigative Reporter at WMFD-TV and The Virginia Star. Follow Jack on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].