2008-04-05 / Editorials & Letters

'Watchdog' visits Mayor's Court

Editor:

A call from an angry motorist prompted me to visit the Kirkersville Mayor's Court. What a show! The magistrate, John Galasso, was just finishing the first case as I came into the room. There were three cases total for the night! The solicitor wasn't present nor any Kirkersville Kops other than the chief.

The second case was a man, who, according to his citation, possessed marijuana in his right front pocket. This must have been a small amount since the ticket was a "Minor Misdemeanor Citation" which carries no jail time, just a fineof about $100. From what I could gather, the magistrate dismissed this ticket. The man thanked Galasso and asked about his money ($63) that the officertook from him. Galasso asked the man why the officertook his money. The man replied, "That's what I asked the officer!" Galasso and the man joked about the sum of the money and how it obviously wasn't drug money since it wasn't "thousands of dollars." Galasso told Chief Kop Chamberlain to get this man's money out of the evidence room.

While Chamberlain is looking for the money, Galasso called the third case. This is a woman who drove from 2.5 hours away! She had apparently tried to transfer her case to the county prior to this court date via telephone. Galasso told her that the case is set for trial today and asks her what she wants to do. He tells her that the only way she can transfer the case is to "be here or have an attorney do it for you." She goes back to sit and wait for the officerto show in order to proceed with the trial. A few minutes later, Chamberlain told me that the officerthey were waiting on was a paid officerwho was on unpaid SUSPENSION (he wouldn't give a reason)! Needless to say, The officerdidn't show up and the case was dismissed.

I asked Chamberlain if he found the $63 that the first man was waiting on. He replied, "No, but I'm not the Evidence Technician!" I reminded him that he's the CHIEF and then asked him if it was a common practice for them to take someone's money on a Minor Misdemeanor Citation for Marijuana! He responded that it was. He also told me that the money is kept in the evidence room and a log is kept of what's there. When I asked for a copy of the log, Chamberlain informed me that he had a lot of paperwork to compile because an "applicant" didn't get hired and is suing the village for discrimination!

To my knowledge, they haven't hired ANYONE else; they are down to two Kops. The levy failed 3 times and an "applicant" thinks he didn't get hired because of his race!? How funny is that?! Bonnie Mansfield Buckeye Lake

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