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Sunshine Laws Smackdown at the Second District Court of Appeals

Until the Court of Appeals issues their ruling, there isn’t much I can tell you that isn’t evident in the video.
There were about 20 people in attendance, including Montgomery County Clerk of Courts Mike Foley and his deputy, and Dayton School Board Member John McManus. Three Montgomery County Prosecutors were in the back- I’m not sure why, although they are the only people who can actually remove a sitting elected official from office for violations of the Sunshine laws. The elected officials who could be at risk are school board members; Mohamed Al-Hamandani, William Harris, Robert Walker and Dayton City Commissioner Jeffrey J Mims.

Of course, they could also be there to prepare to sue me to recover the tax dollars that the school board has wasted defending themselves on this. That only happens if I lose. I don’t plan on losing- because, I would be willing to bet my life on the fact I’m on the right side of this case.

There was also security. Highly irregular in a civil appeal.

The court may have also been filming, but I had to get permission to film. I would have used 3 cameras to do this, but they only allowed for one. Here is the video- it’s about 33 minutes long.

If you want to read the briefs- they are posted here: You’re invited! The Sunshine Laws Smackdown event. FREE! Tuesday Mar 5, 2019 [1]

Decision could be issued in days, weeks, or if you are like the city attorney’s dad- Judge Dan Gehres, they could sit on it for 9 months (like he did in my infamous “Mask case”).

btw- site update, the plugin we used to send notifications of subscriptions to this site became so unstable, we had to replace it. Your notifications will look different. And if you didn’t know you could subscribe to this blog via email, well, now you know- you can.

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Bertel Mann

Your points were valid.

To answer the one judge’s question, apologies for not knowing their names, I would have opined that because school board members were on the committee, essentially, made it a public body and subject to the sunshine laws. If that isn’t the case, what would stop the principal from creating a committee of just school board members on an ‘information gathering’ only session and never gets reported out to the full board? Seems like that would be the easiest way to circumvent the sunshine laws, if so.

Dayton City being involved seems irrelevant or not argued well enough.

Good luck, procedures will almost certainly make this a loss for your case, which is unfortunate.

Mike Bock

I thought it interesting that the school board attorney devoted a good section of his time to disputing the lower trial court’s ruling that the “task force” was a public committee and subject to the sunshine laws. The school board attorney must fear that if the appeals court agrees with the trial court about this key point, then there is a good chance that the appeals’ court will determine that the sunshine law was violated. I thought you were most effective when you spoke with some emotion about the importance of sunshine to the validity and legitimacy of our democracy. These appellate judges, I felt, were indicating agreement. One judge (on the right) seemed to defend the trial court’s ruling that the task force meetings are subject to the sunshine laws. I think this court would like to go on record as supporting the sunshine laws and I believe there is a decent chance — 55% — that two out of three of these judges will rule in your favor.

Bob Ward

Seems like they gave you the playbook to really challenge them if this gets sent back down, which I think it should be. Seems to me that a task force with publicly elected officials on it would make it a public body.