Picture two such of the younger children: Adorable little girls just six and four years old respectively, Mikayla and Brittany. Imagine their anticipation as the big day approaches and they look forward not only to the beloved fireworks, but also to the arrival of their favorite uncle Jeff, whom they haven't seen in months.
Now picture the adorable little girls' disappointment because a suited goon in Ohio wouldn't let Uncle Jeff come see his family. Yes, Mikayla and Brittany are just two more victims of the Ashland County, Ohio prosecutor's office.
Call them "collateral damage," more innocents caught in the cross-fire as the run-amuck prosecutors pursue their vendetta against Jeffrey "Hunter" Jordan.
The latest round of court system harassment came after Ashland County Prosecutor Robert DeSanto offered Jordan a plea bargain, then reneged on the deal once Jordan was on the road to Ohio to accept (in an attempt to cut his own losses). To rub salt in the wound, DeSanto made a public statement that made it seem that Jordan had refused the offer rather than the truth. *
Once Jordan knew the case was going to drag out at least another three and a half months, he asked that the terms of his bond, which restricted him to his home state of New Hampshire and trips to Ohio court appearances, be altered slightly. He requested three things: 1. A one-time trip to Montana for two scheduled job interviews 2. Permission to travel to Massachusetts, where his doctor practices. 3. A one-time visit with his family, including the aforementioned little girls, his sister's daughters, in Kansas for Independence Day.
This sort of thing is normally a matter of routine, especially with someone like Hunter, with no criminal record and a history of complying with every demand of the court, traveling seven hundred miles at his own expense for every required court appearance. It would be handled with a phone call or two, and quickly granted.
But for some reason, Judge Runyan demanded that Jordan make a personal appearance at a hearing in Ohio to discuss the matter. Folks who still believe the courts are bastions of fairness and honesty might expect that meant the judge was going to approve the request and just get Jordan seven hundred miles closer to Kansas to help him out.
Apparently not. As reported in a July 2, 2004 article in the Mansfield News Journal, all but one of the requests were flat out denied. "Assistant prosecutor Christopher Tunnell filed a brief in the case, arguing that Jordan would be difficult to find if he were allowed to travel to another state and absconded."
The original terms, as mentioned, placed Jordan unsupervised in New Hampshire, which borders on Canada; it's roughly a four hour drive from his home to Montreal. If Jordan had any plans for absconding, wouldn't it make more sense to skip the country directly, without telling the court he was planning to hit the road? Why drive out to Montana first, if his plans were illicit?
I believe the prosecutor's intention can be found rooted in the words "job interviews." Jordan's ex-employer, Verizon Communications, improperly fired him over this false arrest. Since then, the actions of Verizon and DeSanto, while surely... coincidental, couldn't be better than outright collusion to deprive Jordan of the financial resources to fight his case. So the prosecutor isn't about to give Jordan a chance to make a living and pay his attorneys. Fortunately, he has a little help there.
If the prosecutors feared a skip, they should have welcomed a chance to place Jordan in Kansas, that much farther from an international border, and under the supervision of his sister, herself an officer of the court- a Kansas prosecutor, a fact with which I'm sure the prosecutors are acquainted.
I can't imagine that they were pleased about Jordan being allowed to go to Massachusetts, but they probably feared that denying him his doctor might be a bit too much for the more principled people of Ashland County to stomach. And assistant prosecutor Ramona Rogers is up for election this fall. But if the court suddenly yanks the Massachusetts permission, you'll know that they considered the Peter McWilliams precedent, and that Jordan kicking off would end an embarrassingly public trial of an innocent man while saving their pride. After all, there's a reason Jordan wanted to see his doctor.
No, I think the rationale set forth by Tunnell was just garbage. In fact, the prosecutors want to damage Jordan's finances and morale by depriving him of work and family. And judging by some of the things they have done and said already, I suspect these grinches would think hurting little girls is just icing on the cake.
These are not nice, decent people just doing their jobs. DeSanto, Rogers, and Tunnell are taxpayer-funded bureaucratic leeches who got suckered by the notoriously armed civilian-hating Ohio State Highway patrol, and would now prefer to destroy a man they know to be innocent, and his family, rather than let their pride suffer by admitting they screwed up.
To these people, saving face is all; and it doesn't matter how many innocent people -- honest citizens, little girls, upset mothers, outraged friends -- get in their way. They have even resorted to "secret indictments", a police state tactic reminiscent of the old Soviet Union.
But with a little luck, and despite the court's voir dire (which columnist and editor Vin Suprynowizc says is French for "jury tampering"), Jordan will get a jury of Ashland County's honest citizens who will be outraged by the illegal excesses of the OSHP and the prosecutor's office in their persecution of an innocent man. And if the current negotiations between New Hampshire and Ohio regarding reciprocal carry pan out, the jury might wonder why the heck DeSanto, Rogers, and Tunnell are wasting their time, money, and court resources when they have murderers, rapists, child abusers, and thieves to deal with.
Maybe the voters will even wonder this fall if they should elect to the prosecutor's office a person who seemingly has no problem with making little girls cry. I think DeSanto's chosen heir, Ramona Rogers, needs a write-in opponent in November.
Hampshire man has case continued
Apparently realizing that many people planned to attend the scheduled felony trial, and not wanting them to waste a trip, Jordan made a one-line announcement that his trial had been moved to another court on another date. That court can only handle misdemeanors, so clearly the reason for the change was that the felony had been negotiated down. That Jordan believed a good faith bargain was in place is indicated by the fact that he left his new Hampshire home for the Ohio court date: His truck was gone, he wasn't at home, and I received a phone call from him, in which he stated that he was in Ashland, Ohio. Only after Jordan had set out on this journey of hundreds of miles did DeSanto withdraw his "offer."
I have an unproved theory as to why DeSanto reneged on the deal. I believe he hoped to conduct the misdemeanor trial without public scrutiny, and was enraged that Jordan had the gall to let his friends know not to waste their time and money traveling to a feleony trial that wasn't going to happen.Even worse, I myself forwarded the news, and my analysis, of the shift to a misdemeanor court to a local newspaper. Apparently DeSanto prefers star chamber trials.
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