Abruzzino bolsters military judicial record
LISBON — Vito Abruzzino, the Republican candidate running for the county prosecutor’s seat, on Wednesday challenged assertions that he does not have the law experience he has claimed.
In a story about the race which ran in Tuesday’s edition, Chief Assistant County Prosecutor John Gamble, Abruzzino’s opponent, had questioned there being no record of Abruzzino’s cases. Additionally, the newspaper had checked PACER, the database where federal cases are listed without finding cases either.
Abruzzino said on Wednesday the PACER system is not used for military cases and most of his record would actually have been listed on a U.S. Army Judge Advocate General Corps (JAG) docket database instead. Additionally, the JAG docket system has been updated over the years and does not include cases during his time serving as an attorney in the military from 2007-2014.
Finally, Abruzzino said some of the federal cases he tried were listed under his supervisor, Ann Young, when he served in a second role as a special assistant U.S. attorney. Abruzzino held that role as a civilian criminal prosecutor in Federal Magistrate Court a few days while he was also working as senior trial counsel on other days.
Although the cases are not listed as available on the databases, Abruzzino provided the newspaper with five of his performance evaluations from his military service, some from the time he was serving as a senior trial counsel at Fort Jackson, S.C. and some from his time as a trial defense counsel at Fort Bragg, N.C.
The evaluations from various raters contained information about Abruzzino serving as a prosecutor for general and special court martials and his supervisory role working with or training other legal technicians, paralegals and attorneys. At least one evaluation notes his role was representing soldiers at all phases of courts-martial and administrative separation proceedings, as well as providing legal advice to soldiers facing both non-judicial punishment and criminal investigations.
Another evaluation referred to Abruzzino as the best solider-lawyer of the nine currently assigned to the Fort Bragg field office, where he served more than 210 clients during the short rating period covered in the evaluation. Another evaluation said he “skillfully represented 20 soldiers facing courts-martial” and talks about him handling several sensitive cases.
The evaluations praised Abruzzino in several places including one that lauded his preparation, courtroom exhibits and “complete mastery of the facts and law.”
Since leaving full time military service, Abruzzino has continued to represent the Air Force base in Vienna as a reserve and has branched into civil and government law, for example working on the zoning issues and disputes regarding bringing TJX to the village of Lordstown.
Abruzzino called Gamble’s attack on his record a “complete falsehood.”
Abruzzino also wanted to clarify when he was speaking about 120 days to bring a drug case to trial, that was his time frame in the military, but in Ohio it would be a 90-day time frame.