Google+ Badge

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Thirteen Months Later -- Paul Vernier Without Due Process

Now, thirteen months have passed since local and federal officials executed search warrants at Paul Vernier's properties -- Community Counseling Treatment Services Center in Ironton, Ohio, as well as two facilities in Portsmouth and his home. 

The authorities said they were looking for evidence in a drug trafficking and money laundering case they claimed had been in the works for more than a year. The authorities said Vernier, the owner of all the clinics, and his staff took part in illegal activity including drug trafficking, money laundering, insurance fraud and forging prescriptions.

Yet, to this date, Vernier hasn't been charged or arrested for criminal activities. And, vehicles and other property he owned remain impounded. Authorities ransacked not only the clinics but also his home looking for evidence of crimes. With these serious business intrusions and home invasions, he has become a victim of irreparable damage.

All the while, Vernier has been left to wonder why he was targeted for any criminal activity. Reputable sources say he was a stickler about "dotting all the i's and crossing all the t's" of complicated medical treatment procedures. Since thirteen months have passed without charges, it  seems his supporters are correct about their faith in Vernier as a considerable asset against drug addiction.

I have never heard of a case in which a concentrated local and federal raid yielded no actions after such an overwhelming swarm of aggressive investigation. Something really "smells rotten" about the entire affair. I believe the execution of search warrants against Vernier was politically motivated when some people in very persuasive positions felt their own financial interests were threatened. I think these competitors put pressure upon authorities to rush to judgment with unwarranted actions because of their own selfish interests.

Paul Vernier has been denied due process under the law. The constitutional guarantee of due process of law, found in the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments, states that a law shall not be unreasonable, arbitrary, or capricious.

Due process protects an individual from undue governmental intrusion and harm. This includes protection from unreasonable searches and seizures. Due process has frequently been interpreted as limiting laws and legal proceedings so that judges -- instead of legislators -- may define and guarantee fundamental fairness, justice, and liberty. When a government harms a person without following the exact course of the law, this constitutes a due process violation, which offends the rule of law.

Nothing about the accusations against Vernier are either procedurally fair, reasonable, or natural to justice. Now, he remains a victim of tactics taken by those who used speculation and envy to fuel an unnecessary attack that ruined his business and stole his livelihood. All the while after this intrusive raid, his needy patients have suffered lack of treatment, and, yes, some have even died as a result.

"A license cannot be revoked because a man is redheaded or because he was divorced, except for a calling, if such there be, for which redheadedness or an unbroken marriage may have some rational bearing. If a State licensing agency lays bare its arbitrary action, or if the State law explicitly allows it to act arbitrarily, that is precisely the kind of State action which the Due Process Clause forbids."

-- Felix Frankfurter, Barsky v. Board of Regents, 347 U.S. 442, 470 (1954). 

Paul Vernier, like the redheaded or divorced examples in Frankfurter's case, is a victim of the authorities' arbitrary actions. He was singled out to endure gross mistreatment without sufficient reason. Now, I believe, Vernier must be exonerated of wrongdoing and compensated for his tremendous losses. When the state simply delays justice by refusing to provide ample evidence and stripping a person of his right to a speedy trial, the government is at fault.

In Ohio, under the Ohio Revised Code, speedy trial rights are guaranteed by the Ohio Constitution and the United States Constitution. Both types of speedy trial provisions generally protect a defendant from having charges pending in perpetuity by allowing the defendant to force the State to pursue or dismiss their case.

Ohio's statutory speedy trial rights can be found in O.R.C. 2945.71 and O.R.C. 2941.401. These statutes provide periods of time within which a defendant must be brought to trial. The seriousness of the offense determines how quickly the case must be brought into court, ranging from 30 days for minor misdemeanors up to 275 days for felonies. For statutory speedy trial purposes, the highest level offense for which a defendant is charged determines the time period.

I believe the injury done to Paul Vernier's reputation and the damage done to his property represent the true criminal nature of the raids of over a year ago. He has been a very patient, cooperative man, but surely his dream of saving lives and giving back to make the community a healthier place to live have been unfairly stifled. Impartiality and justice have been ignored by those who continue to leave him in limbo.

It seems to me that a prison does not always have bars that constrict the movements of the detainee. In this case, Vernier has been a prisoner for over a year serving in a lockup outside the confines of steel and concrete. He has been accused and, thus, prevented from operating his treatment services. In doing so, the state has held him as an virtual inmate while denying him access to patients and preventing him from helping so many needy human beings.  

Post a Comment