Jacquie Maiden, Cleveland's 2006 Scapegoat of the Year.
We’ve been following the story of Jacquie Maiden since last April, when we told you this gentle, easygoing preacher’s wife was having a little trouble at the office. More than a little, actually: out of nowhere, the former Board of Elections worker found herself indicted for rigging the recount of the 2004 presidential election.
Problem is, she was just following orders from her superiors: Board Chairman Bob Bennett, Director Michael Vu, and Assistant County Prosecutor Reno Orandini, also known as the Triumvirate of Assholes™. Fearing a public backlash, Vu sought advice from Orandini, who told him not to break the longstanding county tradition of violating election laws. Then, when somebody needed to go down, there were Maiden and fellow Board employee Kathy Dreamer. They were convicted in January. Judge John Corrigan, having left his heart in his golf bag on the day of the sentencing, gave them each 18 months.
But Corrigan, it turns out, isn’t just a dick. He's a dick with connections. He’d previously been represented by Assistant County Prosecutor Charles Hannan, Jr., who helped take down the women. Of course, in Cuyahoga County courtrooms, such conflicts are as routine as pin stripes and bad cologne. But apparently it was good enough for the Ohio Supreme Court to disqualify Corrigan. The justices this week sent the case back to Judge Shirley Strickland Saffold, who’s scheduled a trial for August 28. (Editor’s note: Yes, C-notes is confused too. As soon as we figure out who picked up the justices’ bar tab in exchange for this ruling, we’ll let you know).
Erie County Prosecutor Kevin Baxter, appointed as special prosecutor for the case, doesn’t know why the women can’t just twist like the crooked criminals they are. He thinks the first trial went just fine, and in today’s PD openly questions Saffold’s judgement.
“I still can’t figure out what new evidence the judge was talking about,” he says. “But she’s the judge and she makes the decisions.”
Maybe these’ll help, Kev. Back in February, we posted documents
from Orandini’s early investigation of the Board. Initially Vu himself was the target, but when Maiden confirmed Vu’s stance – that the board always presorts ballots for recounts – she became collateral damage.
Now Saffold has a chance to make things right. In accordance with the Cuyahoga County Elected Officials Handbook, Rule 74.36.2, she’s expected to fuck it up. -- Jason Nedley