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"Theft in Office" Charge Gets Former Drug Task Force Director 18-Month Prison Stint

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Just 2 days after being sworn in for his second term as Ohio's Attorney General, a drug task force chief in Columbiana County was being hauled off to prison for 18 months for spending money out of a discretionary expense account called "Furtherance of Justice."

This is just the latest in a series of dubious prosecutions by DeWine's office of Ohio sheriffs and others in the shadowy side of law enforcement (primarily drug investigations) who spend money out of these discretionary expense accounts. There is a stench of opportunistic politics about these cases.

Threatening racketeering charges to force low-level plea deals from these drug detectives and sheriffs overseeing them resulting in prison terms is an assault against the original purpose of the FOJ discretionary accounts.

Whatever the merits of the alleged "theft in office" charges against these men (no women as of yet) there is no need to haul them off to prison. The actions of the Ohio AG's office cannot help but stir fear in the minds of all sheriffs in all 88 counties who are now all too familiar with the arbitrary exercise of this state power.

When state officials use criminal prosecution as a political weapon for the purpose of cranking out hyperbolic press releases and self-promoting press conferences, we all need to pay attention.

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