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Hearing to remove Brown County Coroner wraps up

BROWN COUNTY, Ohio (Rich Jaffe) -- It's been a contentious day in a Brown County courtroom, leading up to closing arguments in a hearing for the County Coroner.

Hundreds of people want to see Doctor Judith Varnau ousted.  The hearing wrapped up around 5p.m. Thursday.  The judge promised a decision by sometime next week. 

Many people took the stand including past and present coroners.  It was a matter of taking the time to listen to both sides as they argue.  The issue is, did the coroner violate protocols and correct methods of handling the work of multiple cases since she took office in December of 2012?  Is it just a matter of her lack of experience?  Or is it a matter of conspiracy between the Sheriff's office and the prosecutor's office to shut Judith Varnau out and make her job tougher?     

Thursday the courtroom heard from the coroner yet again on the stand.  Rich Jaffe says her attorney tried to set her up as the victim.  Varnau's attorney claims Varnau has done all the right things and everything that was asked of her.  Yet she could not get any help from the Sheriff's office or from the county prosecutor. 

The Chief Deputy and the Sheriff himself also took the stand.  Their point was they have executed, or tried to execute, three different memorandums of operation with the coroner to establish a protocol of operation whereby the two offices could work together on death scenes.  They say on every one Varnau has refused to sign them or backed out on the deals being made.  They believe Varnau has put their deputies at risk and so they do not want the deputies investigating the crime scenes in question.

The lawsuit is separate from another suit filed in federal court accusing Varnau of mishandling death investigations.  She won election in in 2012 with 176 write-in votes.

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