For more than six years, Garrick Krlich and his wife have complained that they are the targets of a horn-honking campaign in the city of Hubbard.
The Krliches have charged that the Hubbard Police Department and the city’s lawyer have not been diligent in pursuing the harassers and have failed to file charges and prosecute cases. Officials have disputed the Krliches’ claims, noting that the Liberty Street residents have not been able to provide the level of proof required by state law.
Nonetheless, in an effort to end the impasse Hubbard Law Director Mark A. Villano decided that an independent review of the facts and evidence in the case was warranted. Villano thus contacted Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine’s Office seeking assistance.
“The attorney general has offered a special prosecutor, and that’s what we’re going to get for Mr. Krlich,” the city law director told The Vindicator. “We couldn’t seem to do enough to satisfy Mr. Krlich, so we decided to go to someone removed from the situation.”
One of the central questions that must be answered is this: are there groups of individuals that have targeted the Krliches by honking their car horns all hours of the day and night? If the investigation does reveal such a conspiracy, then the full weight of the law should be brought to bear on the scofflaws. Why? Because it means the two residents of the city of Hubbard have, indeed, been subjected to mental torture and may even be living in fear.
The Special Prosecution Unit of the state attorney general’s office assists county prosecutors with the preparation and presentation of major felony cases, complex white-collar investigations, murder, child sexual assault, and allegations of criminal wrongdoing by public officials when prosecutors ask for assistance when there is a lack of local resources to effectively handle certain cases.
Over the years, Krlich has criticized the police department for not filing charges against more people given the DVDs he has submitted containing video and audio evidence. His dissatisfaction with the city’s criminal justice system has led him to the Trumbull County Common Pleas Court where he has filed dozens of civil stalking protection orders against individuals he recorded on equipment at his house who were engaged in horn honking.
Last month, he filed or refiled 720 horn-honking complaints with the office of Atty. Robert Johnson, prosecutor for the Girard Municipal Court that he believes are allowable under the time limits in Ohio law, which he said is two years.
There’s a lot more involved in filing charges than might be evident. For instance, three to four charges were filed starting late last year and ending about eight months later. They required 250 man-hours of work by the Hubbard Police Department to complete.
The department has at times stationed an officer near Krlich’s home to try to catch people honking, but that requires the level of staffing the department is hard-pressed to provide. Civil protection orders have been approved by common pleas court Magistrate Patrick McCarthy in 12 of 25 cases Krlich filed. Thirteen others were denied.
The magistrate’s orders generally also contain restrictions against stalking, harassing or bothering the Krliches.
The horn-honking saga in the small community of Hubbard has gone on for far too long. It’s time to end it. The assistant state prosecutor, along with the law director and other criminal justice officials, should take all the time they need to get to the bottom of this case.
And when they’re done, their findings and recommendations should lead to the final chapter of this tale of woe.