First Amendment Rights & the Judiciary

Elsebeth Baumgartner -- Trials & Tribulations





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Baumgartner News & Views

February 2009

Baumgartner to serve remainder of sentence after ruling

By Kristina Smith Horn • Watchdog/enterprise reporter • February 20, 2009

Elsebeth Baumgartner will remain in prison after an appeals court upheld her 2006 conviction on charges of intimidating a Cleveland-area judge and her former associate. . . . The Eighth District Court of Appeals in Cleveland ruled Feb. 12 the disbarred Oak Harbor attorney's appeal was without merit, according to a statement from the Ottawa County Prosecutor's Office. . . . "She is completely unable to wreak havoc on the citizens of Northeast Ohio for the next seven years," said Dan Kasaris, Cuyahoga County assistant prosecutor. "I'm very pleased." . . . Baumgartner has served about 11 months of her eight-year sentence in the Ohio Reformatory for Women in Marysville. She will be eligible for parole after she serves five years, Kasaris said.

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November 2008

Ex-lawyer's appeal denied

News Herald reports

11-13-08 -- An appeals court has upheld Elsebeth Baumgartner's no contest plea to charges of leading police on a chase in 2005. . . . Baumgartner, a disbarred Oak Harbor attorney, pleaded no contest to felony counts of fleeing, failure to comply and resisting arrest and was found guilty of the charges in February 2007 in Erie County Common Pleas Court. . . . Baumgartner then tried to withdraw her plea and stand trial. . . . When the common pleas court judge denied her request, she appealed the decision to the Sixth District Court of Appeals in Toledo, saying she did not plead to the charges "freely, voluntarily and intelligently," according to the Sixth District court's ruling. She said she was coerced into pleading to the charges while being denied her anti-anxiety medication, according to the court's ruling. . . . The court rejected Baumgartner's argument last week because she attended the hearing with two attorneys, according to the decision. . . . "In fact, appellant appeared at the plea hearing with two attorneys arguing her case," the court ruled. "The trial court noted during the hearing that her attorneys had argued very strongly on her behalf."

March 2008

Baumgartner Appeals Court Okays Criminalizing Free Speech

North Country Gazette

03-08-08 -- In a chilling, but not unexpected decision, the Sixth District Court of Appeals has upheld the 2006 criminal contempt conviction of former Oak Harbor attorney Elsebeth Baumgartner, lending troubling implications for the public’s right to criticize public officials, especially the judiciary. . . . The Sixth District essentially insulated thin-skinned and egotistical judges such as retired visiting judge Richard Markus of northern Ohio, placing Markus in a cocoon and ignoring well-established case law, especially federal case law, concerning contempt cases and the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, in essence criminalizing the exercise of free speech. . . . The Sixth District failed to address any controlling U.S. Supreme Court precedent which prohibits the punishment of political speech or restricts comments on public affairs. . . Does a citizen have the constitutional right to criticize a judge or other public official without fear of retaliation by arrest and jail?  No, according to Markus’ brethren in the unanimous 3-0 decision released Friday. . . .  The case is likely on a track direct to the U.S. Supreme Court as Baumgartner says she will take the matter to federal court. . . . Last year, Ottawa County probation officer Jody Royster had admitted that it was “open season” in Ohio on Baumgartner.  Conventional wisdom indicated that there was virtually no way that Baumgartner could have expected to win her appeal at the state court level. Ohio Official Admits It's "Open Season" On Baumgartner. In a sworn affidavit given by the late Judge John Adkins last January, Adkins reportedly admitted that in essence there is a “judicial hit” on Baumgartner, admitting that he had been appointed by Chief Justice Thomas Moyer to handle the initial politically charged case against brought against Baumgartner in 2002 on complaint of Erie County prosecutor Kevin Baxter and in essence, Adkins admitted that he had allegedly been ordered to stifle her and insure a conviction which ultimately led to her disbarment and later revocation of her pharmacy license.

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Ohio Attorney Baumgartner Jailed Again

By Greg Szymanski

02-29-08 -- An Ohio attorney facing 66 years and six months in jail for speaking out a city council meeting was jailed last Thursday after making a routine court appearance in preparation for her upcoming trial. . . . Information still remains sketchy as to the exact reason why attorney Elsebeth Baumgartner was hauled away to the Erie County jail, but sources close to the case say it's nothing but 'political pay back' for uncovering serious corruption in Cuyahoga County leading all the way to the doorstep of the White House. . . . As outrageous as it sounds, Baumgartner faces a total of more than 109 years in jail on other felony charges stemming from city council incident, including emailing a high ranking Ohio judge and running a controversial web site accusing high ranking Ohio officials with serious crimes.. . . 'They have twisted the law and essentially taken away my freedom of speech rights,' said Baumgartner two weeks ago after appearing on Greg Szymanski's radio show, The Investigative Journal. . . . After Baumgartner was jailed Thursday, she was unavailable for comment, as all phone and email contacts have gone unanswered. . . . However, close friend and associate, Angela Caputo, provided the following update on her case, saying as of Sunday evening Baumgartner was still being held in the Erie Country essentially as a modern day 'political prisoner.' . . . 'Elsebeth is in the Erie County jail. Thursday was supposed to be the start of her trial on felony fleeing and eluding in front of Visiting Judge David Knepper,: said Caputo. 'I do not have any details yet - just a message from her husband Joe Baumgartner.

Selective Prosecution—A Sign Of Tyranny

North Country Gazette Commentary

02-13-08 -- Suppose you’re traveling on a city street and come to an intersection where there’s a stop sign. You look to your right and see an occupied patrol car sitting in an adjacent parking lot.  All the cars ahead of you roll on through the stop sign and the cop makes no move whatsoever to cite them.  You do the same thing when it’s your turn at the stop sign and wham—here comes the cop after you, red lights flashing and siren wailing. . . . Selective enforcement, you cry!  How come you’re stopping me when everyone else was doing the same thing and you didn’t bother them?  Of course, maybe they weren’t at the city council meeting last night like you, speaking out against the proposed increase in police salaries.  Could it be retaliation? . . . How about if you’re an owner of a business that’s surrounded by other mercantile shops?  The other business owners put up new signs without having to obtain a permit but when you do put up the same type of sign, you get served with a notice of zoning violation, summoning you to court. . . . Selective enforcement you cry!  How come you’re citing me but not the other business owners?  Could it be because they paid the zoning officer $50 to look the other way and I refused to do so? Could it be intimidation? . . . Selective enforcement is a violation of the constitutional guarantee of equal protection for all persons under the law.  On the federal level, the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution requires equal treatment.  The Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment extends the prohibition on selective prosecution to the states.  The equal protection doctrine requires that persons receive similar treatment under the law. . . . The U.S. Supreme Court has held that selective prosecution exists where the enforcement or prosecution of a criminal law is “directed so exclusively against a particular class of persons…..with a mind so unequal and oppressive” that the administration of the criminal law amounts to a practical denial of equal protection of the law.

Judicial Coercion

© 2007 North Country Gazette

3-10-07 -- Elsebeth Baumgartner, the beleaguered, disbarred attorney who is paying a price for blowing the whistle on governmental corruption in northern Ohio, entered a no contest plea in Erie County Court this week to charges of felony fleeing and failure to comply with the order of a police officer for charges brought against her in May 2005 by Bay View Police. . . . Charges of resisting arrest and grand larceny against her were dismissed. . . . But the way in which the plea was obtained is certain to bring a constitutional challenge to unlawful bond conditions and coercion. There's already a Fourth Amendment challenge well established to the entire arrest due to the allegedly defective warrant used as the premise to effect the arrest and the fact that the alleged warrant had been issued in a case which had already been dismissed. . . . One of Baumgartner's attorneys, Richard Drucker, said the matter would be appealed because one of the elements of law needed to sustain a charge of felony fleeing is that there must be a substantial risk to public safety involved and in the Baumgartner case, there was none as evidenced by the fact that there were no traffic charges and a veteran officer with the Florida Highway Patrol testified it was the lowest speed chase he had ever participated in.



2-28-07 -- In northern Ohio, dare to criticize the judge and government and you'll be sitting in state prison for eight years or more. . . . But if you're a public official, particularly a police officer, commit a crime such as burglarizing someone's house or stealing taxpayer money, you probably won't be sentenced to more than 90 days in jail---if you're sentenced to jail at all.

Baumgartner Attorney: "Justice Delayed Is Justice Denied"

Commentary By June Maxam

2-26-07 -- The pressing question in northern Ohio continues to be if the U.S. Constitution and Ohio Constitution have been suspended in the case of disbarred attorney Elsebeth Baumgartner, deemed in some circles a political prisoner, being punished by the government for having dared to speak out about governmental corruption----in particular, judicial and prosecutorial corruption. . . . The latest violation of the whistleblower's constitutional rights appears to be the suspension of habeas corpus. . . . As of this week, Baumgartner will have served three quarters of her 120-day sentence for criminal contempt in Ottawa County Jail but has still been unable to have her petition for habeas corpus heard. . . . With about 30 days remaining on her sentence, it appears likely that she will have served the entire sentence before the matter can be appealed and even if the conviction is overturned and found to be unconstitutional, there is no way she can ever regain the 120 days of liberty taken from her---and perhaps that is exactly the government's plan.

Lost Evidence Could Overturn Baumgartner Convictions
By June Maxam

2-25-07 -- Although visiting judge J. Ronald Bowman of Lucas County has denied motions to dismiss in the grand theft and felony fleeing case against former attorney Elsebeth Baumgartner in Erie County Common Pleas Court, the stage is now set for the reversal of any conviction should the matter go to trial or even in a no contest plea deal in exchange for appellate bond. . . . More importantly, with the admission of special prosecutor Daniel Kasaris that the prosecution has lost the hard drive of one of the computers seized last year from Baumgartner after the execution of a search warrant, the entire case against her in Cuyahoga County may be compromised and required to be reversed due to the disappearance of evidence in the case. . . . Bowman denied the suppression motion brought by Baumgartner and her attorneys, Frank Gasper and Richard Drucker in the grand theft case pending against her in Erie County. The defense had moved for dismissal and suppression of all charges because so far, the prosecution hasn't been able to produce the warrant that they say was the probable cause to detain Baumgartner, threaten to break the windows out of her car and arrest her on May 20, 2005.

Baumgartner Trial On Theft Of Own Vehicle Starts Tuesday

© 2007 North Country Gazette

2-19-07 -- Judicial whistleblower and former attorney Elsebeth Baumgartner of Oak Harbor heads to trial this week in Erie County Common Pleas Court on charges of grand theft auto, felony fleeing and resisting arrest. . . . But the People, represented by special prosecutor Daniel Kasaris of the Cuyahoga County prosecutor's office, have some major problems with the prosecution of the case from May 2005 according to known facts and discovery in the matter, starting with the alleged probable cause that Bay View Police under the direction of Chief Helen Prosowski claimed she had in trying to detain and arrest Baumgartner initially. . . . While the matter is scheduled for trial on Tuesday, Feb. 20, visiting judge Ronald Bowman of Lucas County has still not conducted hearings on suppression motions and motions to dismiss submitted by Baumgartner and her attorneys, Frank Gasper and Richard Drucker. . . . Since the last court appearance on Jan. 29, principals in the case such as probation officer Jody Royster and Judge John Adkins have been deposed under oath with startling admissions in favor of Baumgartner.. . . . . . . . . Although the claimed probable cause for the "stop" of Baumgartner as she sat in a vehicle in which she had a financial interest, was an arrest warrant, to date no one has been able to produce a copy of the claimed warrant.

Ohio's Judge Markus Favors Public Corruption Over Free Speech

Editorial © 2007 North Country Gazette

2-18-07 -- Is disrespecting the judiciary a criminal act, more criminal than obstruction of justice and violating the public trust? . . . According to retired visiting judge Richard Markus it is. . . . Public corruption scored another win over free speech in northern Ohio this week in yet another courtroom manipulated by Markus. . . . Markus is one of the most controversial judicial figures in Ohio, frequently handpicked by Thomas Moyer, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, to handle the high profile cases involving alleged public corruption in northern Ohio, even over the outcries of the public. . . . Markus apparently is more supportive of public corruption than he is of the First Amendment and free speech, granting early release for a corrupt sheriff who served five years for stealing from the public and tampering with evidence. Markus' early release of the ex-sheriff came just months after he secured an eight year prison term for former attorney Elsebeth Baumgartner for sending him emails criticizing his judicial performance and telling him that he's corrupt.

Ohio's "You Play (Expose Us) You Pay" Scheme

By David Palmer, The Watchdog, Sacramento, California

11-4-06 -- This article deals with an ongoing scheme by elected officials in Ohio to silence those who have the courage to act as whistleblowers in exposing corruption involving public officials. . . . The recent evidence of Ohio's pay-to-play schemes involving Tom Noe, et al. is somewhat synonymous with what is going on with Dr. Elsebeth Baumgartner and other whistleblowers.  In this instance, I'll call it "you play (expose us); you pay."  This writer has personally experienced this "play and pay" scheme here in the good ol' Buckeye State. . . .   As you'll see from the incontrovertible evidence below, if you blow the whistle on public corruption in Ohio, you're going to become a victim of those you've had the audacity to expose.  These corrupt officials are absolutely devoid of any ethics, morality and treat their oaths of office with total contempt.  In their world, whistleblowers are the real criminals!

Ohio Official Admits It's "Open Season" On Baumgartner

© 2007 North Country Gazette

2-12-07 -- It's "open season" on disbarred Ohio attorney Elsebeth Baumgartner. . . . So admits Ottawa County probation officer Jody Royster. . . . Additionally, a counselor for an Ottawa County organization known as "The Giving Tree" which contracts with the Ottawa County Jail to provide inmate services, has allegedly indicated that Baumgartner's life is in danger if she continues "down the path" of exposing legal, judicial and governmental corruption in northern Ohio. . . . In a sworn deposition Feb. 1, under questioning by attorneys representing Baumgartner in several criminal matters, Royster said that pursuant to terms of probation set by Judge John Adkins in a 2002 case involving Erie County prosecutor Kevin Baxter, Baumgartner was not allowed to file any complaints about anything and if she did so, it would violate the conditions of her probation from a 2002 conviction for falsification for allegedly making false statements at a Port Clinton city council meeting about investors in a ferry boat company in which Erie County Baxter was allegedly part owner. . . . When one attorney asked Royster hypothetically if that would mean that if Baumgartner was raped and reported it to the police, he would revoke her probation, Royster said yes. . . . "Let me get this straight, what you are in effect saying is that it's open season on Elsebeth Baumgartner. That anyone can do anything to her and she has no recourse", the attorney asked Royster to which the probation officer responded in the affirmative, saying "it's not my call".

Baumgartner Court Suppressing Constitution

Commentary © 2007 North Country Gazette

1-24-07 -- The Gulag system of the Soviet Union has become primarily known as a place for political prisoners and as a mechanism for repressing political opposition to the Soviet state. . . . As the scenario continues to unfold in the Elsebeth Baumgartner free speech case in northern Ohio, it appears that the Gulag system has extended into the penal system of Ohio, particularly in Ottawa, Cuyahoga and Erie Counties. . . . Embattled disbarred attorney and judicial whistleblower Elsebeth Baumgarter, currently serving a 120-day contempt charge for statements made in legal pleadings which are protected by absolute immunity, is scheduled to stand trial on Jan. 29 in Erie County on charges that she stole her own corporate vehicle, resisted arrest and engaged in felony fleeing.

Justice, Ohio Style

North Country Gazette Commentary

1-4-07 -- What's going on with the court system in Erie County? . . . Nearly four months after the adopted brother of Erie County Common Pleas Court Judge Roger E. Binette was charged with allegedly molesting two girls, there still has been no judge appointed to hear the case. . . . Donald C. Binette, 41, of Wellington, was indicted in September, charged with third degree felony gross sexual imposition for allegedly molesting a then 10-year-old girl on Sept. 16. He's been accused of molesting two different girls, ages 10 and 13, on two separate occasions. . . . Roger Binette, Erie County administrative judge responsible for the assignment of judges in the county, has removed himself from the case. . . . Apparently Erie County is more concerned about prosecuting a woman for allegedly stealing her own corporate vehicle and imprisoning her for having the audacity to criticize a judge and call him corrupt. . . . As administrative judge, Binette was also the Erie County judge responsible for assigning a new judge to the May 2005 charges against Elsebeth Baumgartner for charges that she stole her own corporate vehicle, felony fleeing and resisting arrest, all premised on a supposed outstanding warrant which so far, no one will produce. Although retired visiting judge Richard Knepper recused himself from the Erie County Baumgartner case first on Aug. 18 and then again on Aug. 21, after he revoked her bond in Erie County, Binette then delayed assigning a new judge to the Baumgartner case so that a bond hearing could be held or motions filed in the case.

Ohio Whistleblower Gets 8 Years For Criticizing Judge

12-20-06 -- Government critic and judicial whistleblower Elsebeth Baumgartner has been sentenced to eight years in prison for writing e-mails to a 76-year-old retired visiting judge who is still sitting on the bench adjudicating matters although the Ohio Constitution mandated his removal from the bench when he reached age 70. . . . In an apparent attempt to position herself and the Cuyahoga County prosecutor's office for Baumgartner's expected constitutional challenge to both the sufficiency and lawfulness of the charges levied against her as well as the procedures exercised in gaining the convictions, Cuyahoga Common Pleas Court Judge Shirley Strickland Saffold said that she wasn't sentencing Baumgartner for the content of her speech but rather for her act of exercising that speech. . . . Although Baumgartner was arrested and prosecuted for allegedly intimidating and retaliating against Markus because he refused to disqualify himself from adjudicating matters against her, retiring visiting judge Richard Markus, who has exhibited an extraordinary ego and conceit as well as overwhelming bias against Baumgartner, said last month that he hadn't been intimidated by her.

Selected stories related to Elsebeth Baumgartner on new blogspot

Erie Voices Too

In late January 2006 was shut down due pressure from Ohio officials concerned with publication of evidence proving pay to play in the judicial system of Ohio. This site seeks to republish key stories updating them where possible in an effort to speak truth to power and correct grave injustice.

Baumgartner Challenged Jurisdiction, Prosecutorial Misconduct

© 2006 North Country Gazette

12-12-06 -- A year ago on Dec. 12, disbarred attorney and pharmacist Elsebeth Baumgartner and her former business partner Bryan DuBois had been scheduled for trial in Cuyahoga County before Common Pleas Court Judge Shirley Strickland Saffold on multiple felony counts of intimidation and retaliation on complaint of retired visiting judge Richard Markus who claimed that Baumgartner had intimidated him by sending him emails critical of his judicial performance. . . . Baumgartner had been charged with eight counts of intimidating a judge, four counts of falsification, two counts of retaliation and possession of criminal tools, a laptop computer. Both she and DuBois were arrested last summer following a secret indictment which alleged that they had intimidated Markus by allegedly sending him emails expressing their opinions about various issues before him. . . . When Baumgartner and DuBois appeared in court Dec. 12, 2005, Baumgartner produced a note from her personal physician stating that she was not competent to stand trial, asking for a continuance.. . . Saffold refused to accept the note and ordered that the trial begin immediately although Baumgartner was not represented by counsel. Baumgartner says that she had not been given any notice of trial date and to the best of her knowledge, no trial date had been set. She had never signed a waiver of counsel and was entitled by the Sixth Amendment to legal counsel.

Ex-lawyer gets jail term in Ottawa County
Baumgartner given 120 days, fine for contempt

11-19-06 -- A disbarred lawyer convicted of 27 counts of contempt of court was sentenced yesterday to 120 days in the Ottawa County jail and fined $2,700. . . . Visiting Judge David Faulkner of Hardin County levied the punishment against Elsebeth Baumgartner, 51, after finding her guilty in late October of disrupting the court with statements she made during earlier court proceedings. Judge Faulkner said Ms. Baumgartner's behavior continued despite warnings by the judge hearing the cases, Richard Markus, a retired judge from Cuyahoga County. . . . "It didn't seem to matter. It continued so the court finds in this case there is a continuing course of conduct. It was deliberate," Judge Faulkner said before imposing the sentence. . . . Ottawa County Prosecutor Mark Mulligan had asked the court to give Ms. Baumgartner the maximum sentence of 30 days on each of the 27 counts, saying she had a "long history of slander, libel, and contempt." ***** Ms. Baumgartner, who is to be sentenced Dec. 18 in Cuyahoga County on charges she used e-mail messages and legal filings to try to coerce favorable rulings from Judge Markus, was disbarred in 2003.

Baumgartner Jailed 120 Days For Criticizing Rent-A-Judge

© 2006 North Country Gazette

11-19-06 --Seven months after former Oak Harbor attorney Elsebeth Baumgartner was tried in Ottawa County on 34 contempt charges lodged against her by retiring visiting judge Richard Markus, visiting judge David Faulkner rendered his verdict, finding her guilty of 27 counts of contempt. . . . On Tuesday, Faulkner sentenced Baumgartner to 120 days in the Ottawa County Jail, denying a stay and appellate bond while she appeals his rulings. . . . She faced up to 30 days in jail and a $250 fine on each count. . . . The contempt charges had been prosecuted by Ottawa County prosecutor Mark Mulligan who has a well known conflict of interest involving Baumgartner and is currently the subject of a libel and defamation suit filed against him by Baumgartner with permission of Markus. . . . In essence, Baumgartner was found guilty of criticizing Markus in motion papers and in e-mails, actions which she maintains are constitutionally protected. . . . In his decision, Faulkner said that Baumgartner had claimed that her language "was nothing more than advocacy when the court failed to protect her rights and that as a citizen, she has a right to criticize the government and the administration of justice". Faulkner said "the court finds nothing in the record to support such contentions".

Disbarred lawyer convicted
Baumgartner found guilty of contempt of court

10-31-06 -- A disbarred attorney who has made numerous charges of wrongdoing against local public officials and is under indictment on 16 counts of illegal possession of drugs was found guilty yesterday of 27 counts of contempt of court. . . . Visiting judge David Faulkner handed down his ruling against Elsebeth Baumgartner in Ottawa County Common Pleas Court. Sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 17. . . . The ruling by Judge Faulkner of Hardin County Common Pleas Court is part of a wider litany of contempt charges filed against the former lawyer, including convictions on those charges in December, 2004, and October, 2005. . . . "She claims that her language was nothing more than advocacy when the court failed to protect her rights and that as a citizen, she has a right to criticize the government and the administration of justice," Judge Faulkner wrote. "The court finds nothing in the record to support such contentions." . . . Ms. Baumgartner, 51, was charged in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court in 2005 on a 14-count indictment that accuses her of using e-mail messages and legal filings to try to coerce favorable rulings from Richard Markus, a retired judge from Cuyahoga County.

Ohio Attorney Jailed Again Without Charges
By Greg Szymanski
9-12-06 -- A disbarred Ohio attorney who uncovered massive state and federal corruption has been illegally jailed again for allegedly practicing law without a license. . . . Elsebeth Baumgartner has been held in the Erie County jail for 16 days without charges being filed, a proper arraignment or even the right to a bail hearing. She was put away without her due process and constitutional rights even being recognized similar in style to way political dissidents were treated in Nazi Germany and the old Soviet Union. . . . Called the ultimate travesty of justice by court observers and by her husband, Joe Baumgartner, this most recent jailing of Baumgartner illustrates the kangaroo court-like atmosphere present in Ohio, as her case also clearly illustrates a total breakdown of the rule of law and respect for the rights of an individual. . . . Held in jail as nothing more than a political prisoner based on 'judicial discretion gone haywire', Baumgartner was unavailable for comment. This most recent jail term adds to more than 244 days spent illegally behind bars for trumped-up crimes, including a recent 45 day jail stint for contempt of court, numerous days behind bars for unnecessary psychiatric evaluations and months in jail for merely speaking out at a city council meeting. . . . "This latest jailing is the worst thing I ever witnessed," said Baumgartner's husband, Joe, in a Wednesday telephone conversation. "There were never any charges filed and Judge David Knepper just decided to jail Else for illegally practicing law or giving out legal advice to a friend she met while in jail. It's simply ridiculous but she still is sitting in jail without any rights or even a proper arraignment." 9-7-6

Greg Szymanski

Greg also has his own daily show on the Genesis Communications Network. Go to Greg Szymanski is an independent investigative journalist and his articles can been seen at He also writes for his own site  . . . Listen to my Radio Broadcast live Monday night at 8pm Pacific time on LewisNews, returning Jan. 1 2006 Radio Greg is also regular on the first Thursday of every month at 9-10 pm pacific time.

Ohio Free Speech Trial Gets a Continuance

by: June Maxam, North Country Gazette

3-27-06 -- The trial of judicial whistleblower Elsebeth Baumgartner, criminally charged for expressing her opinion about a judge and his rulings, has been postponed until May 10. . . . The former lawyer and pharmacist had been scheduled to begin a jury trial Monday on 18 criminal charges of intimidation, retaliation, falsification and possession of a criminal tool—a laptop computer. The charges are based on the complaint of retired visiting judge Richard Markus who said she intimidated him by sending him emails asking him to properly perform his judicial duties, criticizing his past actions and rulings and accusing him of case-fixing. . . . Baumgartner was arraigned Monday in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court before Judge Shirley Strickland Safford on a new indictment obtained last week by Cuyahoga County assistant prosecutor Daniel Kasaris, charging her with 14 more counts of intimidation, retaliation and falsification for alleged postings on her own blog.

Trial Monday In Ohio Free Speech Case,
More Charges Lodged

Baumgartner was among the first to point a finger at Noe, Taft and others in Ohio government, state and local, exposing alleged public wrongdoing. The arrest and prosecution of those officials validates her allegations which were made as early as 2001.

3-25-06 -- One of the nation’s most important cases dealing in judicial corruption and First Amendment issues will take center stage on Monday, March 27 in Cuyahoga County in northern Ohio. . . . Or will it? . . . Can Ohio officials afford to have the case proceed to trial, a jury trial by her peers no less? . . . Judicial whistleblower Elsebeth Baumgartner of Oak Harbor, former attorney and pharmacist until the powers-that-be, angered by her allegations and substantiation of public corruption, stripped her of her professional licenses, is scheduled to begin trial on 18 criminal charges of intimidation, retaliation, falsification and possession of a criminal tool--a laptop computer--based on the complaint of retired visiting judge Richard Markus for criticizing him.

Contempt Trial Of Free Speech Advocate On Hold

3-22-06 -- The contempt trial of former Oak Harbor attorney Elsebeth Baumgartner was suddenly adjourned Wednesday until April 3 by visiting judge David Faulkner. . . . The complainant in the case, retired visiting judge Richard Markus, had finished his testimony and Baumgartner had testified in her own defense, giving a narrative because Faulkner has denied her the right to counsel in the matter. . . . Prosecutor Mark Mulligan did not cross examine Baumgartner.

Three Dirty Words:  “First Amendment Rights

The contempt trial of former Oak Harbor, Ohio attorney and pharmacist Elsebeth Baumgartner resumes today in Ottawa County. . . . But all it’s only a dog and pony show, there is no semblance of a fair and impartial trial and she has been denied virtually every constitutional right that she is guaranteed. . . . She has been charged by retired visiting judge Richard Markus with 34 counts of contempt. Which is it, civil or criminal contempt? . . . Well, presiding judge David Faulkner won’t commit whether its civil or criminal but the case bears a civil case number and Faulkner has said that civil case standards are applicable. . . . But when testifying Monday, Markus said under oath that Baumgartner’s criticisms of him and other public officials are criminal because she used them to distract him and others from handling her court cases.

Court Ignores Federal Stay In Baumgartner Contempt Trial

3-20-06 -- Rent-A-Judge Richard Markus, the Ottawa County Common Pleas Court and prosecutor Mark Mulligan have themselves in a Catch-22. . . . Just when you thought the case of former Oak Harbor attorney Elsebeth Baumgartner couldn’t get any more bizarre, the court has disregarded an automatic stay imposed by federal law and proceeded to trial in the 32 charges of contempt brought against Baumgartner by retired visiting judge Markus. . . . If the court claims that the contempt charges brought by Markus against Baumgartner are criminal, then presiding Judge David Faulkner and Mulligan have violated Baumgartner’s Sixth Amendment right to trial by jury, right to counsel and other constitutional guarantees. . . . If they claim it’s a civil contempt proceeding which doesn’t entitle her to a trial by jury or legal counsel, then they’ve violated a stay granted by operation of law by her filing of a Chapter 13 bankruptcy action.

Trial To Open In Criminalizing Political Speech For Criticizing Judge

3-16-06 -- The U.S. Constitution, particularly the First, Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments, has apparently been suspended in northern Ohio. . . . And if you insult the judge, he’ll use his black robe and gavel to get even, especially if it’s Richard Markus and his adversary is Elsebeth Baumgartner with whom he has a long and conflicted legal relationship. . . . Ottawa County prosecutor Mark Mulligan, Judge David Faulkner of the Ottawa County Common Pleas Court and retired visiting judge Richard Markus seem to have decided that the U.S. Constitution isn’t applicable in northern Ohio. . . . The trial in the case of disbarred attorney Elsebeth Baumgarter, charged with at least 32 counts of criminal contempt on the complaint of Judge Markus, is scheduled to begin Monday, March 20 in Ottawa County Common Pleas Court. . . . Although Mulligan has been previously disqualified by another retired visiting judge from prosecuting Baumgartner in other cases due to conflicts of interest, he has refused to disqualify himself in this matter and so far, Faulkner has refused to remove him. . . . Already the deck is stacked and there is virtually no perception that Baumgartner could or will receive a fair trial.

Judicial Critic Seeks Return Of Computers In
Ohio Free Speech Case

North Country Gazette

3-15-06 -- Can a person be criminally charged and jailed for criticizing a judge? . . . Can governmental officials seize your computers containing private and personal information, claiming that they might have evidence on wrongdoing on them and then refuse to return them even though they have all your legal research and records needed to defend yourself in their action against you?

A case of monumental significance nationwide, focused on First Amendment rights to criticize public officials and in particular judges, is scheduled to proceed to trial in Cuyahoga County on March 27 in the case of former attorney Dr. Elsebeth Baumgartner, charged with the intimidation of retiring visiting judge Richard Markus. . . . On Feb. 1, Cuyahoga County officials executed a search warrant at Baumgartner’s Oak Harbor home, seizing all of her computers in addition to documents pertaining to Erie Voices, a blog operated by Baumgartner with Bryan DuBois which focused on governmental issues in northern Ohio and in particular, alleged corruption in government and the courts. . . . The warrant was signed by Ottawa County Municipal Court Judge Frederick Hany, a judge who had previously disqualified himself from matters pertaining to Baumgartner, admitting he had conflicts of interest.

Judicial Tyranny Continues In Ohio Free Speech Case

2-25-06 -- Even to the most unindoctrinated, retired visiting Judge Richard Markus of Ohio has so many conflicts of interest involving former Oak Harbor lawyer Elsebeth Baumgartner, it's hard to imagine why the Ohio Court System allows him to be involved in any matter involving the Baumgartner family and certainly not in lodging any monetary judgments against them. . . . In fact, at age 75, it's a mystery why the retired judge is still allowed to be presiding in any case considering the Constitutional age limitation for judges is 70.  . . . Markus, 75, presided over a libel trial in December, 2004, brought against Dr. Baumgartner by Kellen Smith, a former member of the Benton-Carroll-Salem Board of Education, the same school board of which Dr. Baumgartner's husband, Joseph, had been a member.

Mrs. Elsebeth Baumgartner, Ph.D. Pharmacology, J.D.



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The So-Called Judges

A Rent-a-Judge

Judge Richard Markus

Read about Markus, the Ohio Rent-a-Judge

Justice on Demand for Those Who Can Afford It
By Martin Kuz

Ottowa County
Municipal Court

Judge Frederick C. Hany, II

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Without Freedom of thought, there can be no such Thing as Wisdom; and no such thing as public Liberty, without Freedom of speech”

--Benjamin Franklin (.1706-1790)--


“If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.”

George Washington -- American commander in chief of the colonial armies in the American Revolution  and subsequently 1st US President  (1732-1799)

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INAUGURATED ON: March 26, 2006
Updated on 02/04/2012