By: Robert Johnson
On April 9, 2018 Geauga Sheriff Deputy Robert Tropf went to the home of Diane Skalsky and arrested her son, James Gydosh, for Domestic Violence. Gydosh has a long history with law enforcement in Geauga and Summit Counties. In fact, Gydosh had two previous charges of Domestic Violence in Summit county; the first charge, filed in 1999, was reduced to Disorderly Conduct.
The second charge, in 2002, also included Drug Paraphernalia and Open Container. The last two charges were dismissed. He was sentenced to 180 days in jail on the Domestic Violence charge, with 90 days suspended in a plea agreement.
From the Geauga Municipal Court documents of Deputy Tropf: “…(victim) stating that the accused (her son) pushed her against a desk and threatened to kill her.” Tropf arrested Gudosh and he was preliminarily charged with Domestic Violence Felony, M1.
Gydosh’s case was bound over to the Prosecutor’s Office as a Felony of the Fourth Degree.
On May 3, 2018, Geauga Prosecutor James Flaiz personally filed a Motion to Dismiss on behalf of Gydosh and sent the case back to the municipal court.
Flaiz wrote: “….the prior conviction in this instant matter was the product of an “uncounseled plea….(in 2002).” “Uncounseled plea” means that a person is not represented by a lawyer.
But Gydosh did have an attorney. Documents from Akron Municipal Court and the Geauga Sheriff’s Department show that Gydosh had a public defender acting on his behalf. And Gydosh’s Akron probation officer, named Alissa Streeter, verbally confirmed that Gydosh was represented in court.
When Gydosh returned to Chardon Municipal Court, he was charged with Criminal Mischief, which is essentially vandalism. He was sentenced to a year of probation and his fines and court costs were suspended.
In a review of all the cases that Flaiz handled in Geauga County courts during the ten-year period before he became prosecutor, there is no indication that he ever tried a criminal case. No surprise then that there are so few criminal cases heard. According to the Ohio Supreme Court, there were two criminal cases held in Geauga County last year. So why the need for four highly paid investigators working at his office?
The latest lack of action on his part was in Flaiz not fighting to stop the sealing of the court records of disgraced former auditor Frank Gliha. Gliha had admitted in court that he approved the payment of bills, that exceeded his authority, during the embezzlement of $2.4 million from Geauga taxpayers during an eight year period. For that Gliha got five misdemeanors. What could possibly have induced Judge David Ondrey to seal a file of misdemeanors?
When it comes to prosecutors, how did Geauga County draw the short straw?