Self-described Internet whistleblowers, Elsebeth Baumgartner, and Bryan DuBois of Sandusky, Ohio are being held in solitary confinement after being charged with several felonies related to their journalistic activities on the Internet and based on the complaint of retired judge Richard Markus.
Baumgartner and DuBois’ have used their blog www.erievoices.com to document allegations of “shady” political activity in Sandusky. The site now chronicles their legal difficulties, many of which concern First Amendment and civil rights advocates.
Markus presided over legal challenges to Baumgartner’s public criticism of local school board members. They were charged with intimidation after filing a legal challenge. “(a) common tactic with paper terrorists is to file documents on the eve of a certain event in order to get the court to rule favorably for them”, special prosecutor Kasaris elaborated on the arrest of Baumgartner and DuBois.
All criminal counts against Baumgartner and DuBois have been attributed to their collective emails and lawsuits targeting Markus. In Cuyahoga County, Baumgartner was detained on a $360,000 cash bond, charged with Intimidation, Retaliation, and Possession of Criminal Tools while a $150,000 cash bond was required of DuBois, charged with Intimidation, Retaliation, Extortion, and Possession of Criminal Tools. In Ottawa County, DuBois was detained on a $40,000 cash bond, charged with Intimidation and Retaliation. The referenced, criminal tools are supposedly one or more computers used to email Markus.
National Judicial Conduct and Disability Law Project, Inc. (NJCDLP) is a legal reform organization that combats abuses of the American legal system facilitated by judicial misconduct. It is headquartered near Chicago, Illinois and has its website at www.njcdlp.org
Zena D. Crenshaw, acting executive director for NJCDLP, reports being concerned when legal reform activism prompts or may lead to losses of liberty among its proponents. She compared Ohio prosecutor, Dan Kasaris, to Texas Attorney General, Greg Abbott, who recently characterized a certain challenge of judges as “. . . a pattern of vexatious litigation that amounts to bloodless terrorism . . .”
“We are very concerned about the plight of internet activists,” declares Libertarian Party of Ohio Executive Director Robert Butler, “Where would be without society’s muckrakers? The Internet is a leveller, a single person can challenge a corrupt system if they have the freedom to speak online.”
The NJCDLP and Libertarian Party of Ohio will work together to help Baumgartner and DuBois receive proper legal representation.
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