The Office of the Prosecuting Attorney is authorized under Chapter 309 of the Ohio Revised Code to “inquire into the commission of crimes within the county. The prosecuting attorney shall prosecute, on behalf of the state, all complaints, suits and controversies in which the state is a party…and other suits, matters, and controversies that the prosecuting attorney is required to prosecute within or outside the county in the probate court, court of common pleas, and court of appeals. In conjunction with the attorney general, the prosecuting attorney shall prosecute in the supreme court cases arising in the prosecuting attorney’s county…” In short, our office has the responsibility to prosecute all felony, misdemeanor, criminal and traffic offenses that occur in the county where sufficient proof exists to establish and maintain those criminal cases beyond a reasonable doubt. This includes offenses committed by adults and by juveniles.
We presently prosecute cases from multiple agencies in Carroll County, including the Carroll County Sheriff’s Department, Village of Carrollton Police Department, Village of Minerva Police Department, Village of Magnolia Police Department, Ohio State Highway Patrol, Ohio State Fire Marshal, Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification & Investigation, Ohio Investigative Unit, Ohio Department of Natural Resources Divisions of Wildlife and Watercraft, and Rangers of the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District, among others. Our cases are prosecuted in all local courts – the Court of Common Pleas General Division, the Court of Common Pleas Juvenile Division, and the Carroll County Municipal Court. We prosecute cases on appeal in the Seventh District Court of Appeals, the Supreme Court of Ohio, and in the federal courts, if necessary.
The Office of Prosecuting Attorney also is required under Chapter 309 of the Ohio Revised Code to be the legal adviser to the Board of County Commissioners, Board of Elections, and “all other county officers and boards…The prosecuting attorney shall prosecute and defend all suits and actions that any such officer, board…” Similarly, the prosecuting attorney is also charged with being the legal adviser to all “township officers, boards, commissions” that have not adopted home rule powers. In this regard, our office represents in addition to the Board of County Commissioners and the Board of Elections, the Board of Health, the Board of Developmental Disabilities, the Veterans Service Commission, each elected official , and the Solid Waste District to name a few. Further, the prosecuting attorney represents the county Treasurer in civil foreclosure actions for delinquent real estate taxes. Our office represents all 14 boards of township trustees in Carroll County in a variety of issues unique to local government.
Our office is charged with supervising the Victim Assistance program. Victims of crime have certain constitutional and statutory rights under Ohio law, which include court advocacy, escort and support at all stages of the criminal justice process, and assisting in applying for protection orders, obtaining and submitting victim impact statements and assisting victims in registering with VINE, the state’s victim notification program. Our advocates provide referrals to appropriate social service agencies, help victims apply for victim of crime compensation assistance, and keeping victims informed about the status of on-going cases and cases in which convicted offenders become eligible for parole.
Our office is also charged with administering the county Child Support Enforcement Agency (CSEA). The CSEA is committed to establishing and reviewing of administrative child support orders and enforcing child support orders established by a court of competent jurisdiction. Services also include establishing paternity and providing genetic testing, case management services, including collecting payments, enforcing orders, and locating absent parents. The CSEA does not resolve issues of child custody or visitation or dictate or verify how child support should be spent.
In addition to the four main functions outlined above, the prosecuting attorney has several other statutorily mandated duties for service. For example, the prosecuting attorney is, by law, a member of the County Budget Commission and the County Records Commission. In Carroll County, the prosecuting attorney is also a member of the County Child Fatality Review Board, a statutory board created to review child deaths to make recommendations that decrease the chances of preventable death. The prosecuting attorney may also serve as a special prosecuting attorney in another jurisdiction, where that prosecutor may have a conflict of interest or cannot ethically prosecute the matter.
Finally, the most important responsibility of the prosecuting attorney is to serve as a minister of justice. A prosecutor’s role in our criminal justice system is not to merely convict someone of a crime, but to seek justice. In this regard, the prosecuting attorney is bound “to do what is right” in terms of what the evidence proves or disproves in a criminal case, or whether and to what extent criminal proceedings are initiated and pursued. The prosecuting attorney is ethically bound to ensure sufficient evidence exists to sustain a prosecutable case and the prosecuting attorney has an equal responsibility, like a court, to ensure both the State of Ohio and an accused have a fair trial.
7 E. Main Street
Carrollton, Ohio 44615