Thursday, October 10, 2013

Warren Ohio's Police Department Is Placed Under A Federal US Justice Dept 14141 "Consent Decree" After 8 Yrs Effort To Redress Police Misconduct

The Executive Director of the Midwest Center for Constitutional Rights, Richard Olivito filed his first civil rights lawsuits against the City of Warren Ohio's police department and its city officials in 2003 and again in 2004.   {see}

These lawsuits alleged among other things, that the City had "maintained a pattern and practice" of civil rights violations against their own citizens for years, prior to the filing of these individual citizens' claims that the lawsuits contained.

There were complex legal maneuvers that challenged both the City Police and the local officials to admit and/or reveal that they had either tacitly and/or intentionally condoned or acquiesced in a wide variety of improper, serious repeated acts and conduct that characterized their treatment of many of the city's citizens particularly among the poor and the minorities of this Northeastern Ohio midsized
former hard working steel town.

These lawsuits were filed in a number of Northern District U.S. District Courts and were met with serious opposition from the start and in particular the City retained the legal representation for their defense from the large municipal insurance law firm of downtown Cleveland, Ohio, Westin Hurd.

This firm was known for its bare knuckle approach to representing its larger insurance represented clientele across the corporate and private lawyer world and in this particular instance they chose as their lead counsel on these race sensitive case, a top African American lawyer from their metro Cleveland's office, Hillary Taylor.

Both the City of Warren officials and the lead counsel for Westin Hurd found varying degrees of difficulty in representing the actions of the Warren police inside various federal courts in the Northern District Court, generally.    However, there was one exception- the local federal court located in Youngstown, Ohio and the judge there, who was from the Youngstown-Warren area and who grew up and had many ties to the local officials for years, including the local poice chief of Warren.

This judge, appointed by President Bill Clinton, was in name a Democrat, but in reality on these cases, he may have well as been a right wing infiltrator who almost at every turn, backed or fully supported the law and order crowd and its large firm representative when we had to appear before him.   Particularly this was true when it came to the issue of whether or not the City of Warren had maintained a "pattern and practice" of constitutional civil rights violations over its citizens, an issue that was expressly raised and then litigated before his court and him personally.

Judge Peter S. Economus was the name of the downtown Youngstown Federal judge who ought to have never been allowed to hear any of these civil rights cases.  Because of him, the cases's were both treated poorly, neglected and their plaintiff's counsel especially the counsel of these lead counsels, were seriously derided and oftentimes subjected to express hostility and bad judging.

In the end, despite all of Judge Peter S. Economus efforts to minimize and to even destroy these cases true depths and serious allegations from ever reaching the light of day and/or becoming the supportive kinds of federal cases they were intended to be in order for the U.S. Justice Dept Civil Rights Division to come into the region and begin to make its findings and review of the Warren and regional police depts., he could not stop the DoJ and its special litigation unit lawyers from doing what they had already been sent to do, before the good local federal judge who had personal ties to Warren itself and its city officials could stop them.  He could not if he had tried and this was what became a point of tension between him and my cases and his favoring of the Hillary Taylor's version of events and making sure the Westin Hurd law firm got away from having to defend the allegations that the City of Warren had in fact, maintained a city wide practice for years, of serially violating the constitution and the fundamental rights guaranteed to all American citizens.

It was very discouraging to see a federal judge acting in such a personal and unprofessional manner in hopes of delaying and/ negating a full scale federal civil rights investigation and review into the bad policing practices of Warren, Ohio for years.

It was even worse he was appointed by Bill Clinton a president who has become known for his strong stances on issues affecting race and equality for all as a solid democratic president.

It remains a mystery why a northern district judge would act so inside of a set of federal civil rights lawsuits that arose from within his own jurisdiction but the larger question is why he was even allowed to hear these cases at all, given there were so many other judges available to hear such claims arising of the Mahoning County region.

Perhaps, one day, it will become clear and the truth behind why this local District Court judge acted in such a personal and hostile manner towards the one lead private plaintiff's counsel while currying favor with the large downtown law firm lead counsel and not just on this one case but on several others and others filed by other lawyers as well arising from the same locale in this era.

What is encouraging however, is despite the best and considerable and difficult ways of one local Youngstown born and raised local judge having his way over the plaintiffs of various city civil rights cases arising out of Warren, the allegations of Mr. Olivito nonetheless, made the U.S. Justice Department and its Civil Rights Division to sit up and take note.

The payoff occurred a long time after the various individual lawsuits terminated in either settlement and/or in a way that didn't fully redress the problem of the city wide bad policing.

The allegations that Mr. Olivito had placed in all of his Warren civil rights cases includihng those heard by Judge Economus but were denied a hearing on this issue by the good Judge, were fully vindicated by the hard work and persistent efforts of the U.S. Justice Dept Civil Rights Division
as announced by the Northern District U.S. Attorney's office last year.

This came as not a huge surprise to the Executive Director but it was a long in coming and much welcomed one.  It shows though the wheels of justice turn slowly...too slow... in many ways for those who suffered great and serious deprivations and losses needlessly jailed and injured by Warren's finest, nonetheless, the fact that the Dept of Justice did make its final conclusions public and did so, stating "These investigations and findings were based and begun as a result of various civil rights cases filed in 2004"

that was the meek and mild node that I myself took away from their public announcement last year with a smile and long suffering look up to heaven

it isn't something done in the dark, nor small, anytime a federal agency charged with righting the wrongs of serious local official unconstitutional misconduct manages after eight 8 long years to reach a conclusion the same conclusion that one made in writing before this nation's federal courts
in Northern District of Ohio almost a decade ago and was all but mocked by the one District Court judge and treated unfairly and unprofessionally and with serious hostility from this local judge who grew up near Warren and worked in and around Warren-Youngstown all of his professional and adult life

Judge Economus I hope you are reading this and I hope you more importantly have read and heard about the findings of the U.S. Justice Department.

Intellectual honesty is a gift among some judges.  I will as the Director of Midwest Center state and now because of the work of those in Washington DC and their special counsel and civil rights section lawyers, be able to forever state and report to the watching world .

that I and my fellow plaintiff's were right and You, sir, even as a Democratic appointee, were very wrong on this critical issue of whether or not the city had engaged in any such pattern.   I had the evidence after long hours of work but this evidence was at best treated with serious contempt and subjected to hostility and just plain unjust indifferent judging.

You were wrong in both how you failed to address these claims of serious pattern and practice violations happening to the citizens of a City you grew up around a knew well but you also failed y your oath as a judge and a high ranking federal official whose very duty was to help end and expose these very serious series of unconstitutional civil rights violations and misconduct by those who did all of it, while acting "under the color of law"

You knew this and/or were told and repeatedly the evidence pointed in this direction and I wasn't the only plaintiff's lawyer trying to get you to both acknowledge and understand the same

Nonetheless, you became stubborn and as indifferent to the pleas and cries of those poor plaintiffs inside these lawsuits as any Warren former city officer and official who were using the metro law firm of Westin Hurd and their chief counsel, Hillary Taylor to deny such claim and personally mock and undermine the professional standing of the lead counsel who first brought this sad tragic and dark history of Warren Ohio into the legal world's attention in any significant manner, in the past 25 years.
I have a clear conscience about what happened back a decade ago this time of the year.  I know my work was not in vain given what the cases did and how they helped the US Justice Dept in its investigation and to initially take a solid serious look at Warren's PD

whatever happens next in Warren and I do hope the City is changing and I believe with the DOJ intown and making its influence known, the police department is changing and will continue to change for the better.  That is all we wanted in the end from this department. 

But those who were violated and those who suffered from historical serious repeated constitutional deprivations in and around Warren Ohio were never fully given redress and any kind of full hearing i.e."their day in court"

no one knows the true depths of the suffering that such patterned police misconduct can bring to the families, to the citizens and to the individuals who were targeted and became city wide, a population under siege by its own police department.

No level of present day improvements and "changes" can ever make up for the serious injuries that were caused by such serious official misconduct done by those in authority over American citizens.

Nothing has even approached the true level of compensation or full redress for these victims of serios constitutional violations.  And in large part, that is not the job of the US Justice Dept necessarily

That was Judge Economus and other northern District Court's job and they on those accounts, those various courts oftentimes,  made the job and task of seeking and then finding just redress inside an American federal judiciary for these significantly mistreated and violated individuals and families,  very hard and one which they were subjected to hard road and at times, especially in Youngstown's District Court forum, an unnecessarily hostile, indifferent and biased if not almost impossible objective trier of the facts.

but these findings, now create a new day of understanding and a new basis for some of these citizens to once again speak the truth to power, not just in warren and to the Justice Department lawyers but to the federal judges of Northern District of Ohio and well beyond . 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Steubenville Heats Up Again the National Media

Sent from the CNN App for Android New arrest in Steubenville rape case