Ohio State Representative John Becker (R-Union Township, Clermont County) filed a Private Citizen Affidavit announcing 10 criminal charges against Ohio Republican Governor Mike DeWine late Monday morning.
Hours later, Clermont County Prosecutor D. Vincent Faris told the Cincinnati Enquirer, “I do not find any basis for the filing of a criminal complaint pursuant to this affidavit.”
The Private Citizen Affidavit was filed with the Clermont County Municipal Court at 11:03 a.m. The affidavit outlines 10 charges – seven felonies and three misdemeanors, as follows:
- Engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity
- Making terroristic threat
- Inducing panic
- Interfering with civil rights
- Patient abuse and neglect
In a released statement, Representative Becker said “Per Ohio Revised Code 2935.10(A) and supporting case law, the court ‘…shall forthwith issue a warrant for the arrest of the person charged in the affidavit…’ or ‘…shall forthwith refer the matter to the prosecuting attorney…’
Upon closer examination of 2935.01(A), and because ‘it charges the commission of a felony,’ it is clear that, ‘unless [the court] has reason to believe that [the Private Citizen Affidavit] was not filed in good faith, or the claim is not meritorious, [the court] shall forthwith issue a warrant for the arrest of the person charged in the affidavit…’
Therefore, because felony charges are included and because probable cause is abundantly clear and self-evident, the court is required to issue a warrant for the immediate arrest of Governor Mike DeWine.”
Whether the affidavit has merit in other counties is yet to be determined but Becker encouraged others fed up with DeWine’s handling of COVID to file.
“What I did can be done in all 88 counties. The same form can be used – a person can take my name off it and use their own name and information. It doesn’t cost anything and it needs to only be notarized before filing,” said Becker.
In August, Representative Becker drafted a resolution to impeach Ohio Republican Governor Mike DeWine.
The release was accompanied by a website that displayed names of Ohio representatives and whether they are co-sponsors of the bill that, if passed by the house, would result in a trial in the senate.
Representative Becker said in an August interview with The Ohio Star “do I think the articles have the support they need now? No. But this is something the people want and they have the power to make it go. They can contact their representatives and encourage them to co-sponsor.”
Becker partnered with Representatives Nino Vitale (R-Urbana), Candice Keller (R-Middletown), Paul Zeltwanger (R-Mason) on the impeachment resolution. All four drew immediate criticism from Jane Timken, Chairman of the Ohio Republican Party.
Timken didn’t weigh in on the individual charges listed in the resolution, instead she was more concerned about the political blowback to the party. In a released statement, she said:
“It is despicable that anyone who considers themself to be conservative would make an attempt to impeach Governor DeWine. In a time of harsh political division, and an important election year, Republicans should be united.”
The Ohio Republican Party donated $4,219,666 to the 2018 DeWine/Husted campaign.
“I never wanted to go down the road of impeachment and certainly never considered criminal charges against Governor DeWine. The Governor simply isn’t getting the message that people’s liberties need to be respected and a governor has no right to assume imperial and dictatorial powers without regard to any alleged emergency,” said Becker.
Governor DeWine vetoed Senate Bill 55 that sought to eliminate criminal charges and reduce fines for people who violate state COVID orders. DeWine also pledged to veto Senate Bill 311 (SB311) that passed the upper chamber last week – a bill that seeks to limit the pandemic powers of the executive branch.
SB311 would outlaw quarantine and isolation mandates for people who do not test positive for COVID.
Ohio State Representative Diane Grendell (R-Chesterland) drafted “Restore Ohio Now” – a bill with an emergency clause (that would make it effective immediately upon passage) that seeks to strike down the state of emergency in Ohio. Consequently, the revocation of the state of emergency would make ineffectual the power of various COVID orders passed since March.
The bill has gained momentum with republicans.
In a Monday interview with The Star, Becker discussed the goal of the affidavit. “The goal is to get Ohio back on track – businesses fully open, schools open. To do that we will need to remove Governor DeWine and swear in a new Governor,” said Becker.
When asked what the next step should have been after filing the Affidavit, he said “[T]he statute is clear – because the charges involve a felony, an arrest needed to be made – at a minimum an investigation started. If any one of the charges has merit (probable cause) an immediate arrest must be made. However, given the politics involved…
If an arrest isn’t made or an investigation started I will confer with my attorney.”
Becker continued: “My colleagues said they couldn’t support impeachment without criminal charges – so I filed criminal charges. However, no impeachment before now has had criminal charges.”
When asked if the Governor had responded to his charges, Becker said that he’s heard through media outlets that the press secretary said the charges didn’t warrant a comment.
The Star reached out to Governor DeWine through his press secretary who said “If this was serious, I would have a comment. Because it is patently absurd, I do not.”
DeWine is emboldened by a recent Baldwin-Wallace University study claiming approval for the governor’s handling of COIVD is 72 percent.
However, last week the governor was confronted with a different study that showed – when adjusted for deviation – his approval rating could be as low as 53%. DeWine has suffered the sixth biggest drop in approval ratings among governors in the U.S. since April.
When asked about the sinking approval by The Star during a twice-weekly presser, DeWine sloughed off the notion saying that he does not worry about the polls or approval.
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