Ohio’s Sunshine Laws need to turn from fiction to non-fiction
There is a 250 page guide to the Ohio Sunshine Laws, it’s free. It’s entirely fiction.
As a citizen, you are expected to pay filing fees, attorney fees and hope to win pennies on the dollar if that- to make our public officials and quasi-governmental agencies abide by the law.
It’s a thankless job. And one where politicians never get removed from office for violating the law. It’s the only law that requires ALL public officials to take training. Mostly, that training is on how to not respond.
Which is what this case is about. Read and watch- as I almost get arrested for Contempt of Court- by trying to demonstrate the absurdity of the defenses claims of a multi-million dollar security system that “can’t output time code- and redact faces at the same time.”
When the government insists on lying in court- ask the prosecutor to drop trou
Sure, that sounds like a clickbait title. But, when you are dealing with a sunshine law case, more specifically- a public records request for security footage of you getting ejected illegally from the Dayton Metro Library for taking photos, and the prosecutor insists that their multi-million dollar security camera system can’t generate timecode- and redact faces (even if you know it can)- you pull out every stop.
There are other videos you should watch for this case. But, they aren’t necessary for this appeal.
Here’s what you need to know. On Aug 19, 2017, I was in the library- taking photos and their rent a cop thought he knew the law- you can watch the final confrontation. Note- Photography is not a crime.
I immediately asked for the surveillance video. All of it.
They argued that it would violate the privacy of their patrons (then why have the multi-million dollar camera system at all?). They acknowledged they screwed up in Oct of 2019- in a lame settlement offer. Then continued to not release the video in a proper format to this date (it’s been 1509 days).
The State of Ohio limits the states fines to $100 a day for a max of 10 days- so they fought like hell to keep me from having the evidence before I filed in Federal Court on a 1st Amendment case.
Still not having evidence, I had to settle early and cheap.
I finally had to go back to court to try to explain what “all” meant when I requested the video- that was Jan 30, 2020.
The Prosecutor, Nathanial S. Peterson, lied in court. I requested other videos they’d released- and when I finally got one in Aug 2020- I had proof that the prosecutor lied about the redaction and the time code. I’ll post it after I go to court and enter it as evidence.
I filed an appeal in the court- with evidence they’d lied- and was dismissed without a hearing. Apparently, lying in court is fine. I played the prosecutor a bit- I gave the judge the copy of the disk I got from the Dayton Police- and the output we generated with both redaction and time code. He whined about that. I said in my brief- if he’s whining- he now knows what it’s like to not get evidence. And, since lying is OK- I said he wore ladies panties in the filing. He put a motion in to strike that line.
Then- they wanted a transcript of the January 30 hearing- I made my own- why not- it’s ok for the library to make any old kind of video for me.
They rejected it. Proof that format only counts for lawyers. The transcript the court reporter delivered- didn’t match the video- or my transcript- further proof that the courts are stacked against you.
So that’s the back story- and how I almost ended up in the slammer for contempt- for asking the prosecutor to drop trou- and prove to us he wasn’t wearing Vicky’s Secret.
Enjoy. This fight still isn’t over. And the Ohio Sunshine Laws need a lot of fixing- which is my goal.
Feel free to donate to support our next move to fix the bad Ohio Sunshine Laws- to favor the people instead of the lawyers.
Esrati v Dayton Metro Library CA29050 5 Oct 2021 was today’s fight. But, the good news is I did manage to settle the Federal civil rights case for $35,000 which went to www.reconstructingdayton.org to help build it’s capacity to fix this community of micro-fiefdoms we call Dayton.
For more on this case on this blog- as it happened: https://esrati.com/tag/dayton-metro-library