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ARE ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS A THING OF THE PAST?

by Sharon Rondeau

(Feb. 12, 2012) — For some time, The Post & Email has been following a case in the state of Ohio in which a candidate for county sheriff ran for office, won the election, and assumed office without having the requisite qualifications for the position three consecutive times.

In 2000, Dwayne Wenninger submitted sworn petitions to the Brown County, OhioBoard of Elections, declaring his candidacy for the office of Brown County Sheriff.  Under Ohio election law, a candidate for county sheriff must meet a lengthy list of eligibility criteria.

In 2008, a resident of Brown County, Mr. Dennis Varnau, Esq., challenged Wenninger’s eligibility to hold the office of sheriff in a case which made its way to the Ohio Supreme Court twice, and was recently decided in Wenninger’s favor.  The court found that expired terms served by Wenninger could no longer be challenged and that “Varnau cannot seek to invalidate Wenninger’s present term of office based on an alleged prior disqualification from an expired term …,”

Varnau, an attorney, had been employed in the Brown County prosecutor’s office as an investigator.

Varnau’s challenge became front-page news in Brown County, and updates had been reported in the local press as events unfolded.  Varnau relocated to Ohio in 2003 and was therefore not eligible to challenge Wenninger in 2000, when Wenninger first announced his candidacy.  Varnau could not challenge Wenninger in 2004, as he was not even a peace officer certified by the State until September 2005.  Varnau was not eligible as a candidate for sheriff until he satisfied all the candidate requirements in January 2007.

In December 2002, Wenninger had been indicted by a local grand jury for “two counts of falsification in connection with his election in November of 2000” consisting of one misdemeanor and one felony.  The misdemeanor count was dismissed by a judge, but the felony count proceeded to trial, after which the jury found Wenninger not guilty.  The criminal trial court ordered Wenninger’s court records sealed.  Although Varnau requested that the records be opened in the public interest, the Appeals Court stated that the records were “exempt from disclosure under state law.”

A challenge to Wenninger’s candidacy was filed in 2004 by another party.  Varnau claimed that the official protest from Sandra Martin was withdrawn because emergency legislation was passed which changed the educational requirements for sheriff down to a level that included Wenninger’s diploma.

In 2008, Varnau ran for sheriff against Wenninger.  Varnau filed an objection to Wenninger’s candidacy with the Brown County Board of Elections, claiming that Wenninger did not have a valid peace officer certificate to hold the position.  He also protested the Ohio election statute which prohibited non-partisan candidates from challenging candidates from political parties, claiming that the law was unconstitutional.  The Candidate Guide reads:

Protests against any candidate in a partisan primary may be made by the controlling committee of that party, or by any qualified elector who is a member of the same party as the candidate and who is eligible to vote for the candidate whose petition is the subject of the protest. . . . Protests against an independent candidate may be made by any qualified elector who is eligible to vote for the candidate whose petition is the subject of the protest.

(2008 Ohio Candidate Requirement Guide, Jennifer Brunner, Ohio Secretary of State, pages 21 & 22).

Page 21 of the 2008 Ohio Candidate Requirement Guide

 

Page 22 of the 2008 Ohio Candidate Requirement Guide

Varnau’s request for a Writ of Mandamus to force the Board of Elections to accept his protest was dismissed by the Appellate Court, which stated that Varnau “had other legal remedies [a quo warranto] he could pursue should Wenninger be elected sheriff” (p. 2).

Varnau filed a Quo Warranto in February 2009 which claimed that Wenninger “was not lawfully entitled to hold or therefore run for that Office in that [2008] Election, due to said Respondent lacking all proper statutory criteria for eligibility for the Office of County Sheriff…”

At the appellate level, the court found that “the board of elections certified that [Wenninger] met the applicable qualifications to be a sheriff’s candidate for each of the elections.”  Varnau then appealed the decision to the Ohio Supreme Court.  The Supreme Court reversed and remanded the case for the Appeals Court to adjudicate the merits and evidence.

One of the qualifications for sheriff in 2000 was that a candidate must possess two years of post-secondary education at a Board of Regents-approved institution (9b).  Wenninger affirmed that he had attended TTI, a technical training school, but that schooling could not satisfy the strict compliance election requirement under Ohio law.  Ohio Revised Code 311.01(B) for sheriff candidates provides that an unqualified person “shall not be elected or appointed unless they meet all the following requirements.”  Since Wenninger failed to remove his disqualification immediately upon assuming the office, he forfeited the office, and could not be appointed thereto.  Without a valid legal appointment, Wenninger’s peace officer certificate became invalid by operation of law on January 1, 2002, and he completely lost his peace officer certificate by operation of law on January 1, 2005, still during his first term in office.

Ohio Rep. Tom Niehaus, now the Speaker of the Ohio Senate, was instrumental in reducing the educational requirement for Ohio sheriffs in late 2003, shortly before Wenninger submitted his declaration of candidacy to run again for sheriff in 2004.  This emergency legislation rendered Sandra Martin’s objection to Wenninger’s candidacy moot, and her protest was withdrawn as a result.  The legislation, however, had no effect on Wenninger’s expired peace officer certificate lost by operation of law under applicable Administrative Code provisions.

Upon remand, the Appeals Court again held for Wenninger, reasoning that Varnau could not address any disqualifications associated with Wenninger’s prior terms in office because those terms have long ago expired, and such challenges are now moot.  Varnau appealed to the Supreme Court again.  The Supreme Court affirmed the Appeals Court decision on January 26, 2012.

Varnau has filed a Motion for Reconsideration with the Ohio Supreme Court which states, in part:

1.) the facts on which the Decision rests are not supported by the Record;
2.) laches was not intended to bar valid claims just because  the claims weren’t made before there was standing to do so;
3.) the Decision establishes that a statutorily unqualified candidate can keep office, as long as they keep their lack of qualifications secret, or unopposed, long enough;
4.) the Decision has the practical effect of insulating an unqualified candidate from ever being challenged;
5.) the Decision bars Relator from ever challenging Respondent, due to not doing so when he clearly had no right or standing to do so;
6.) the Decision as to Relator and the public in general, has the practical although unintended effect of sanctioning election fraud, particularly if a board of elections won’t act; and,
7.) by not allowing Relator to challenge the legal title to the office Respondent claims the Court has denied Relator’s Federal and State constitutional due process and equal protection rights.

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  1. I have known Dennis since Viet Nam, and have followed this case from the start. It’s hard to believe that the court system seems so shallow. How can The judges of the court sign their name to a document which represents thier “Findings” of which there are errors? Errors that would be apparent to a 5th grader reading the file? It sure looks like they gave it to some junior court person for review and after a day, just signed what was presented. To think these individual are receiving a pay check amazes me. We, the americans who fought for our freedoms deserve much, much more. I, along with Dennis and countless others have gone off to war to defend these shores that our fathers defended so that justice could and would prevail…..Is this JUSTICE?? I sure don’t think so. This deserves another look from those whose job it is to see that “RIGHT” prevails!!

  2. If the Court said, “Varnau cannot seek to invalidate Wenninger’s present term of office based on an ALLEGED prior disqualification from an expired term.”

    Focus your attention on the word “alleged” for a minute.

    Now focus in on this: “[t]he felony count proceeded to trial, after which the jury found Wenninger not guilty,” during his first term.

    Question: Was Varnau’s claim just an “allegation,” or was there enough substance to his “allegation” about Wenninger’s qualifications during Wenninger’s first term, where there must have been enough evidence to proceed to trial and a jury determination.

    There has to be a lot more to this than just mere “allegation,” or why would Wenninger be held in court long enough for charges to go to a jury?

    And why didn’t the courts somewhere along the way want to see what is in the sealed criminal case file like johnb4876 suggests?

    Are there different rules for different courts in Ohio? Are there any rules in Ohio?

    1. The alleged charge was willfull falsification. He was required to have a two year degree. He graduated high school in 1986 and graduated from tec school in 1987. Most morons know how to count but not this one. The criminal part Mr. Wenninger was found not guilty of was the “alleged” part of this case. The lack of being qualified was proven by court records visible for everyone to see as the judge in the case denied the motion to dismiss. The judge said the state had enough to prove he was not qualified and allowed the criminal trial to continue.
      I have followed this case for the past couple years. I remember it in the news and when this Varnau case appeared I did not understand why till a lawyer friend of mine explained it to me. It is very simple once you read the timeline. The republican passing emergency legislation makes it very clear Mr Wenninger did not lawfully hold the office. If someone uses a fake college diploma to enter med school or law school it does not matter if he is a stright A student and even has a practice if he/she is caught they would be removed even years later.
      Mr. Wenninger was a cry baby on a recent tv show and stated that Varnau “keeps suing me”. If it was such a burden why did he keep spending money for lawyers when he could have just unsealed the case. I have kids and if one tells me “do not look in there” or “there is nothing in there” my common sense tells me something is wrong. I am the only one with common sense? If Mr. Wenninger really wants to be honest with the voters why will he not unseal the criminal record? If the disqualification is only “alleged” then unseal the criminal case. WHERE THERE IS SMOKE THERE IS USUALLY FIRE!

  3. I am proud to say that Dennis was my good friend during our time in the Navy off the coast of Viet Nam during the 70’s. He is as honest as the day is long, and up until now truly believed in the American judicial system; that is that everyone will be treated honestly and given their fair day in court. These rulings by the court have shaken that belief to its core (and all of us who have watched it from the sidelines). I would have given up long ago and said “you can’t fight city hall”, as most people would have, and what the courts thought would happen here. They have not encountered someone like Dennis before. He will not give up until there is no where else to go, period! He is intelligent, tenacious and will fight for what he believes in. Hang in there Dennis!

  4. All of the Obama photos and documents have been debunked. Signatures on the alleged Obama divorce papers have been forged. You have a FORGED PRESIDENT.

    Polarik has debunked the Obama birth certificate and the Soetoro Dunham divorce papers signatures but same goes for the Obama Dunham divorce papers. The birth announcements are forged.The Kenya BC is a clear forgery put out by convicted felon. Nevertheless it is being claimed Obama,Sr. was the father.

    Here is Polarik’s comment on the Soetoro Dunham divorce papers signatures. In legal matters an improper signature voids the document.

    28Polarik
    March 11th, 2009 10:15
    “All Ann Dunham signatures a total mismatch for Ann Dunham writing samples circa high school days. View the samples with source links.”
    http://www.hoaxofthecentury.com/Annwriting1.htm
    When I first viewed the signatures on the divorce papers, I had not seen Ann’s writing on her photo and in the yearbook. Those would be typical samples ofa left-handed writer — but, in a much later photo of Annas an adult, she has a pen or pencil in her right hand.
    The only way for the divorce signatures to match those on the photo and yearbook would be if (a) Ann had an injury or neuromuscular disorder to her writing hand, and/or (b) she switched from writing lefty to righty.
    However, even with people who are ambidextrous, signing with either hand produces similarities in the structure of the handwriting.
    When I first viewed the divorce paper signatures, I found them to be very deliberate in their execution, with the Soetoro signature seeming even more forced.
    In contrast, there is an even and consistent flow in her writings on the photo and yearbook.
    The basic structure of a person’s handwriting at 18 would be the same at 28, especially one’s signature. Signatures are very resistant to change unless a person deliberately wishes to change them and spends several hours per day until he or she can write it without thinking about it.
    Personality changes can also affect handwriting just as physical changes can.
    The most notable discrepancies are in the way she signs “Stanley.”
    In her photo and yearbook signatures, the “S” is always disconnected from the rest of the name. There is also evidence of separating initial capital letters from the small case letters in her yearbook comments.
    The second most distinguishing feature is found in how she writes a case “t” in lower case. In the high school samples, the upper part of the “t” has no loop, but is a solid line, with the base being an inverted “v” shape.
    In all of the divorce paper samples, all of the “t’s” have large loops their upper part.
    All of the capital “S’s” in “Stanley” are separate in her high school signatures, but connected as a continuation to the loop in the “t.”
    The other striking think about the divorce paper signatures are their similarities. No two signatures by the same person are ever identical. These signatures are way too similar to have been made freely and normally.
    Couple that with my initial impressions of the divorce paper signatures looking “slow, deliberate, and forced,” and what you get are enough signs to suspect that forgery was involved.

    http://www.therightsideoflife.com/?p=2043%20.com/?p=2043

  5. It has been apparent to me from the beginning of this case that Mr. Wenninger could have cleared it up in about 15 minutes. All he had to do was unseal the records and produce the required affadavit showing his educational credentials. Since he did not do that I suspect that he has something to hide. What was the reason the records were sealed in the first place? This man is a public official therefore everything should be available for public scrutiny?

  6. This smells of corruption and justice for $um$$$. Why did the courts not come up with this when Varnau started this? I recall in the past few years here in Cincy that a doctor was removed for lack of creditials. Where is there a difference? Some animals are more equal than others? If the laws do not apply to our govt. officials where is our protection? Reminds me of reading about the USSR and how the laws were changed and there was no “standards”. A constant moving set of rules helping only the officials. This to me is MORE disturbing than Indiana giving police to enter without warrants.
    Is the Ohio Supreme court just like an assembly line running the cases through without reading them? I am a blue collar worker but am smart enough to understand this case. It is soooooo simple anyone with an IQ of over 75 that can read can see the outcome should have been different. Is the next court call going to remove the statute of limitations for murder?
    What should we expect from the courts? Obama’s lack of eligibility was been covered in front of the whole world. I bet many immigrants from the Eastern Block are shivering in fear ….this all looks soooo familiar. I believe in a great white throne judgement coming that all the judges and elected officials will have to face. God Allmighty will refuse pay-offs and party affiliation. Sleep well corrupt ones.

  7. There is a “dictatorship of the proletariat” as described by Friedrich Hayek. It is the federal government itself which has risen itself above the rule of law, performing ad hoc actions to deliberately frustrate opposition and freedom. As Hayek noted “The important question is whether the individual can foresee the action of the state [based on the government following its own rules] and make use of this knowledge as a datum in forming his own plans…” What good it will do an individual to know ahead back in Hayek’s day was that one might flee the tyranny before it put him in prison or worse. That option is void today. The consequences of not quickly rooting out this faction now running unopposed by any authority or law will be utter despotism awaiting a rational thought to arrive which will allow it to dispose of all it sees as an expense. Who can’t envision a rationalized murdering spree being visited upon the masses? It is the Milgram Paradigm in short that repeatedly lays waste to millions. It’ll happen again, sooner or later.

  8. Mr. Varnau did not even live in the county at the time that the court says he should have filed his quo warranto. Did the judges even read the case? Apparently not. Varnau was not even eligible to be a candidate until the 08 election. Latches does not even apply in this situation. The Ohio Supreme Court might have figured that out if they had even bothered to read the facts in the case. Did they even read the case at all? Talk about judicial misconduct! What are these judges doing all day long on the public’s dime?

  9. Usurping the Office of Sheriff, vile as it is, apparently has a statute of limitations.

    Usurping the Office of President ,,, is TREASON! It has no statute of limitations – and cannot be allowed to stand or go unpunished – corrupt judiciary be darned.

    We The People will see to that.

    1. NO, there is no statute of limitations for a Sheriff who is not qualified and gets caught. This is a microcosm of the same situation regarding Obama and just shows how the law means nothing. Anyone can take over our government at any level and there is no recourse in the courts because they are all incompetent or corrupt.

    2. Patriot35, There is a statute of limitations under Ohio law to bring a quo warranto. It is three years. I filed my case within three months after the election results were certified, thus well within the statute of limitations.

      Ohio Supreme Court case law has stated for well over a century of precedent: “If a relator in a quo warranto proceeding fails to establish entitlement to the office, judgment may still be rendered on the issue of whether respondent lawfully holds the disputed office.” No Board of Elections or any court has ever yet reached the issue of whether Mr. Wenninger lawfully holds the current office. Everyone has avoided that question like the plague ever since I brough my first challenge in 2008. And the avoidance continues to this day.

      In other words, I obviously had standing to bring the suit or the courts would not have said I had that as a future remedy, and my case would have been thrown out for lack of standing over three years ago. After rejecting my attempt to file a protest with the Board of Elections in 2008, based upon the reasoning by two courts that I had a future remedy in quo warranto, the Supreme Court hears the case twice, and the second time it finally says that I should have brought the case back in 2001, when I was still living in Kansas and Illinois with my wife in the Air Force.

      This decision by the Ohio Supreme Court actually appears to make the court complicit 7-0 to covering up a case of ongoing felony election fraud that has spanned three elections so far and entering a fourth, denying me equal protection and due process under both the U.S. and Ohio Constitutions. Surely Ohio’s top court has not come to this level of overt complicity with blatant crime? There has to be some huge mistake within the Court’s inner workings between legal clerks and the justices for this to happen. The decision reads like it was aimed at a completely different case altogether than mine, because the facts in the record do not support ANY of the Court’s reasoning whatsoever. Somehow there has been a complete DISCONNECT between the record and the decision.

      By the way, a Republican judge who sealed Mr. Wenninger’s crimnial trial record after he was found “not guilty” of intentionally falsifying his election documents, was elected to the Appeals Court in 2008, the same court who held against me four times since 2008, even though that judge did not sit on the bench in any of my hearings. And, top Brown County Republican Party members have said, on more than one occasion over these years, that I’d never get my case through “their” [meaning Republican-dominated] courts – indicating contemporaneous ex parte communications with judges hearing my case.

      I have been a registered Independent since my service in Vietnam from 1969 to 1973. Never did I think my rights as a U.S. citizen under both constitutions would be trampled upon so boldly by the courts. Never!

  10. meyerim, I have to agree with you on this. The seven justices on the Ohio Supreme Court are the most incompetent in the 50 States, or the most corrupt, or both! Somebody paid them a lot of money to make this kind of a ruling with no supporting facts in the record. After reading the decision at:

    http://www.sconet.state.oh.us/rod/docs/pdf/0/2012/2012-Ohio-224.pdf

    and the merit briefs and Motion to Reconsider on the Ohio Supreme Court website at:

    http://www.supremecourt.ohio.gov/Clerk/ecms/resultsbycasenumber.asp?type=3&year=2011&number=1414&myPage=searchbycasenumber%2Easp

    There is really something very wrong with a decision that tosses out decades of settled Supreme Court case law on “laches” to hold against Mr. Varnau. How in the wide world of law, could Varnau be guilty of laches when he wasn’t even a resident of the State, yet the Supreme Court said he should have filed his quo warranto years before he moved to Ohio???

    This case is a perfect example of what people have been saying lately, “There is no law anymore!” When a top State court cannot even uphold its own precedent, there is effectively no law to be upheld, thus, no law, just crooked judges on the bench. Like Michael Savage says, “The STENCH from the bench.” Perfect example right here in this case. Thank you, Sharon.

  11. RULE~#1~HE with the MOST GOLD, WINS!!
    As long as exists this Nation-Wide and De Facto CABAL Deep Corruption and “Legislation from the Bench”, and “In my Opinion” decisions NOT Based in Written Law, but rather Whimsical Judgements, whether in this Case or the case of “O’s” IN-Eligibility~the Cause will Produce the same Effects!!