How long does it take the system to prosecute a crime? And who benefits? Is this a system for the lawyers, by the lawyers instead of for the people, by the people?
Since I published the story about Kettering divorce attorney Aaron Hartley being found guilty of assault, 3 other women have come forward to share their similar stories of abuse. In the meantime, the Kettering Judge who is supposed to sentence Hartley for the assault case has been out of the loop- with the sentencing delayed over and over.
In the meantime, other cases against him, including domestic violence, have also been delayed. What started out with a complaint and a Temporary Restraining Order on 8-17-20, TR/CR Case 20CRB00992, and was scheduled for a hearing on 07-28-2021 is now scheduled for 11-03-2021.
Another case, TR/CR Case 20CRB01311, lists Domestic Violence, Child Endangering/Abuse, Assault, and Child Endangering/Health was filed 10-30-2020, he was arrested and bailed out on 11/02/2020. A jury trial was scheduled for 05-05-2021, the next entry is odd- vacating the 21 APRIL 2021 jury trial because of the public health crisis, reset for 7-28-2021, another trial was set for 08-11-2021, 08/05/2021 the state requests a different date, A jury trial was scheduled for 09-15-2021, which was then delayed due to Covid Quarantine, and finally JURY TRIAL for 11-03-2021 at 08:45AM.
The assault case, TR/CR Case 20CRB00148, where he was found guilty on July 29 2021- and was to be sentenced on Aug 11, 2021 and then on 09-15-2021 still hasn’t happened. It’s now also scheduled for 11/03/2021. That case began on 01-28-2020.
So- what was going to be a double header trial on November 3rd, will now be a triple header, with 2 jury trials and a sentencing. In the mean time, Hartley continues to practice his odd form of legal counseling which includes a whole bunch of women saying he was inappropriate- and ripped them off.
Let’s face it- our legal system has become a protracted process where lawyers make money and we all pay the price.
Here’s a few excerpts of what victims have shared with me:
He told me we needed to get the draft of our divorce decree and parenting plan in order to present to our next court date. He had me meet him on a Saturday morning alone in his office to work on it. I thought that was weird, but he told me it needed to get done. He pulled an old case and just switched the names. It didn’t take long like he said it would. As we were sitting in his office he began to tell me we needed to get together after this was all over and have play dates with the kids. I smiled and tried not to be rude and placated the situation. I started to feel a little uncomfortable, so I made an excuse to leave. As he walked me out, he hugged me goodbye. I honestly didn’t know what just happened, but my instincts were starting to kick in….
The meeting right before our next court date, I showed up to the office and he told me that he had to go pick up some gifts he had wrapped for his daughter’s birthday. He insisted I come along so we can talk about my case. We went on these errands, and then he told me he was hungry, so he pulled off at a Buffalo Wild Wings. I didn’t know what to do, I was confused but we still hadn’t talked about my case. While we were in the restaurant, he ordered me a drink without me asking him to, and I didn’t ask for one either. Still, I thought maybe we would start to discuss our upcoming trial. I was very wrong. He began to tell me “how pretty I was and that he looked through my ex’s Facebook and his new girlfriend’s as well”. He told me I was “way prettier than her,” we should hang out after this is all over at my house.” At a loss, and going through a very emotional unstable time, very skittish, I didn’t again know what to say or do, so I tried to placate his offer just so we could leave. At this point, I made the fact known I had a sitter for this meeting, and I needed to get home to them…
Next meeting he asked his client to accompany him to a chiropractic appointment-
On the way back to his office, he again told me how gorgeous I was and how I needed to come over to his house, as he caressed my inner thigh….
The next morning, I received a bill from him, and he had charged me for each of those meetings where nothing was even spoken of in regard to my case….
My dad immediately terminated his employment with us, and I sought new council, with whom instructed me that Aaron told me the complete opposite of what any lawyer should advise his client…
I tried to find someone to hear my story then, but I didn’t think anyone would believe me. I was a 27-year-old, going through a nasty divorce and custody battle, no money, no job: I thought I would look like I was looking for a handout. I also believed that I was making it up in my head, I had no proof. I felt so dirty, worthless and alone. So, I dropped it.
My life would be so different right now if I hadn’t trusted my case with Aaron at the beginning.
Aaron P. Hartley is a monster. He was very unethical. He did not advocate for his client which was his job to do. He preyed on my ignorance of divorce, my vulnerability, and my lack of self-worth at the time. My children have suffered from his debauchery as well, and it is still hard for me to make ends meet. If I can do anything to stop him from doing this to any other client especially young women, I will.
And yet Judges and other lawyers, allow him to continue to practice law. Delaying sentencing is almost as wrong as the things that Hartley has done. It allows a criminal to continue to prey on victims. Judges seem to have immunity veils wrapped around them in Montgomery County. Once you’ve been elected the “unwritten rule” is you can be challenged the first election and then- never again until you age out or die. That’s a lot of power for judges with zero accountability.
It’s almost impossible for the average voter to research and review the conduct of a judge- or measure their performance. Other attorneys who don’t want to be blackballed by a judge, refuse to speak up when a judge is incompetent, or mismanages a case. In Kettering, it’s almost impossible to find who the judges are, in this case, it’s Judge James F. Long as far as I can tell (their “Public Records Online system doesn’t allow you to download the actual filings like Montgomery Counties). There is the other Kettering Judge- Judge Frederick W. Dressel, and the Kettering website tells you nothing about them. For more info look at their Linkedin pages- or do a google search. This is embarrassingly bad on the part of Kettering.
But hey, that’s just Kettering. In Montgomery County, his divorce is moving at a snails pace as well. Filed 08/25/2020, for a Las Vegas marriage on October 13, 2019, there have been 65 filings on the docket to date. They were married for 317 days, and the proceedings have taken 389 days to date. That almost equals one filing for every 5 days they were married. How entangled or complicated can a sub 1 year marriage be? And, lets remember, this was a marriage to a client who he started sleeping with before the divorce was final.
One of his other victims is still waiting to file. She spent $30K with him for a totally inept representation. Hartley was more interested in getting in her pants or using her professional connections to blackmail his x-wife. She hired Hartley because of his fake Google reviews- and it cost her and her kids a lot more than $30K.
While judges and attorneys manipulate filing deadlines and hold pro se clients to an insane standard to learn and abide by these arcane processes, it seems that when lawyers are charged with crimes, they can manipulate the system to delay everything into the ground. Note- you and I as taxpayers pay for the courts, the websites, the filing of all these documents through the multitude of incompetently built websites that obscure the public records from the public on purpose. Case in point- the Federal system PACER, threatens to charge you .10 per page of documents you download- even if you can’t tell what it is until you download it. Charging for PDF’s is a crime, especially when it’s in your own case.
Lawyers and judges need to be drawn in kicking and screaming into the digital technology age. From their arcane page layouts- to hand stamping documents and scanning documents rendering them non ADA compliant, to zero case management tools- like providing next steps- deadlines- and templates for housekeeping processes to the absolute biggest problem- is that downloaded documents don’t show up with a standardized naming convention (docket.pdf is NOT the name of every document). There are numerous other improvements that could be made to court records online- including simple color coding for parties, ie- plaintiff, defendant, court, or batch download features.
What we’ve created is a system that only lawyers can use- and love, because it makes it almost impossible to do the simplest things- like divorce an attorney who preyed upon his client, or hold anyone accountable for their delays in managing the docket.
Aaron Hartley should have been stopped from practicing law for anyone but himself after he was found guilty of assault, yet he still walks free and could be finding his next victim- all thanks to his fellow lawyers who have done nothing to police their own ranks.
I’ve kept this focused on the failings of the system to bring Kettering Attorney Aaron Hartley to justice. But, I could have also talked about the failings of Judge Erik Blaine and Judge Gerald Parker to work within the time limits of the Ohio Sunshine Laws in my Dayton Metro Library public records case, or in my case against the FBI and the DOJ for hiding the Nan Whaley grand jury tapes (The DOJ asked for an extension despite already having delayed responses over and over to my FOIA requests and appeals).
Hopefully, if you are considering hiring Mr. Hartley, you’ve done your homework and know that he’s not as good as his Google ratings make him out to be