MEDINA COUNTY, Ohio (WJW) — The FOX 8 I-Team has learned how the signature of a local judge ended up on court orders even after she died.
And, now the court has started taking steps so that the same thing can never happen again. But we found not everyone is satisfied.
In March, we revealed the mystery surrounding the signature of Medina County Domestic Relations Judge Mary Kovack. Records stamped with her signature were processed in the Court after she ended up in the hospital and later died.
So Medina County Prosecutor Forrest Thompson asked the Attorney General’s Office to investigate. Now, the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation has found out what happened, and BCI agents also found no wrongdoing.
In short, the investigation revealed most of the court orders signed by the Judge simply took time moving through the system.
But, not all of them.
State agents say they reviewed more than 1,000 pages of documents — 101 had the signature of Judge Kovack.
All of them had been signed electronically by computer. And, all of them had been signed by the judge before she got sick. But, this new report says the judge even signed 25 documents that were blank.
Those blank documents were standard restraining orders for divorce cases, and they’d been left for the clerk’s office to fill out later.
Now, the Court’s Administrative Judge, Christopher Collier, tells us the investigation exposed some procedures that need to be tightened.
“There are a couple of things that probably would be clearer, and we have begun to institute those changes already,” Collier said.
In March, Prosecutor Thompson said, “We’re talking about the integrity of the court.” But, now, he does not see a need to pursuer any criminal charges.
Joe Van Brocklin Mireles, however, is not completely satisfied. With one recent order, he lost a custody fight over his daughter.
“There’s still a lot of questions that I feel are unanswered,” Mireles said.
He told us he understands what investigators determined. But, he also doesn’t consider this the end for him pressing for answers from the court.
“We are staying on it,” he said. “This is my daughter we’re talking about and her safety and well-being.”
At this point, though, all of the court orders issued and filed earlier were found to be proper, and they will stand.