Police Agencies Air Frustrations With Fairfield County Prosecutor

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Police and Prosecutors work hand in hand to bring justice to victims, and punish criminals. But police in one county say that partnership is strained, at best.

Last week 10TV reported on complaints of harassment and mistreatment from employees of Fairfield County Prosecutor Gregg Marx.

Law enforcement in Fairfield County say problems with Marx aren't just inside his office.

It is a strong statement from an unlikely source.

Pickerington Police Chief Michael Taylor, asked how much confidence he has in Fairfield County Prosecutor Gregg Marx, answered with one word: “Zero.”

Taylor depends on Marx's office to prosecute felony cases investigated by his officers. But he says that hasn't been happening.

"We've had several cases that we have taken to the prosecutor that we think are good cases. I have officers with 15, 20 years’ experience that know how to do a case and how to submit evidence. And we're told you still need this, you still need this. And we can't figure out why we're being stalled," he said.

Taylor's complaints are not new, and he's not the only one making them.

In June 2011, nine law enforcement officials representing seven different Fairfield County police agencies sent Marx a letter, outlining concerns with the prosecutor’s office.

It lists eight suggestions to improve the way Marx's office "functions with local law enforcement."

Among them:

"Forthrightly tell law enforcement if you plan on refusing a case. Do not assign extra 'busy work,' if...you have already decided that you are not taking the case."

"Avoid sending needless laundry lists of tasks to law enforcement as a stalling tactic to manage the increased work load."

Taylor says many of the issues raised four years ago, still exist today.

"There appeared to be a willingness to help look into it and see what could be done, but that's about as far as it got," he said.

10TV spoke with multiple Fairfield County law enforcement officers who say the same thing, citing the need to work with Marx and fear of alienating him, none wanted to speak on the record.

Fairfield County Prosecutor Answers Harassment Allegations With Office Shake-Up

Two former employees of the prosecutor’s office, speaking to us on the condition they remain anonymous, say they saw it from the inside.

"The motto is- ‘They will do this because we said they will do this if they want charges.’” said one of the employees.

“Yes, absolutely,” the second women agreed. “

10TV Reporter Glenn McEntyre took those concerns to Marx.

“They say there's a disrespect and disregard for law enforcement in this office,” McEntyre said.

“That's absolutely untrue," said Marx.  "The people who say we don't have a good climate for law enforcement are wrong."

“Multiple people we talked to, with different law enforcement agencies today, they cite a pettiness, that personal grudges get in the way of professional working relationships between law enforcement and you and your office,” McEntyre said.

“That's completely untrue,” answered Marx. “Anyone that knows me, other than my political enemies, would not say I'm a petty person. That's so sad. Anyone can say anything about another person. But that simply is not true."

Multiple sources cited the example of a Lancaster Police Detective who angered Marx with a critical Facebook post.

Marx responded by barring the detective from coming to the prosecutor’s office or Grand Jury unless he was escorted by a police supervisor.

“What does that achieve?” asked McEntyre.

“The Facebook post was terribly critical of our office prosecuting a case, terribly critical of the Grand Jury, terribly critical of the Sheriff’s Office Detective Bureau. And I felt this person had political motives," Marx said.

Marx stands by his office's handling of cases, and the evidence required to try them.

"We're not supposed to rush to judgment,” he said. “And if somebody that has experience doing jury trials doesn't think they have enough evidence to tell the victim they have a reasonable chance at success, we should not be taking those cases to trial."

He maintains the law enforcement criticism of him, like allegations of harassment within his office, is motivated by politics.

"So all of these people are lying, and you're the only one telling the truth?” asked McEntyre

“There's a lot of law enforcement officers that will back up what I'm saying,” Marx answered.

Taylor says the ultimate losers in this dispute, are the citizens of Fairfield County.

"The impact is, they're not getting justice. The victim who's been raped or beat up, they've got to wait years for a response from the prosecutor?  We're doing a great injustice to these people who we should be serving."

"It is extraordinarily important that we work together with law enforcement to ensure that we have a fair trial,” said Marx.  "Unnamed people unwilling to stand up and be counted should not be given credibility, and that is what I'll tell the voters. We are doing the best we can to help victims and help law enforcement."

10TV reached out to the Lancaster Detective who was barred from Marx's office over that Facebook post. He declined comment.

We did talk to one officer who spoke highly of Marx. The Lieutenant who oversees the Fairfield County Sheriff's Office Detective Bureau said he "highly respects" Marx and has had a "positive working relationship" with him.

Late Tuesday, Marx responded in writing to Chief Taylor’s complaints. You can view Marx's response by clicking here.