COLUMBUS – Today, Senator Cecil Thomas (D-Cincinnati) announced that he will introduce legislation to prohibit prosecutors who represent counties with 400,000 or more residents from retaining private law practices while they serve as the county prosecutor. The legislation will not prohibit county prosecutors from lecturing or teaching at academic institutions or any local or state bar association forums.
“A county prosecutor interacts with judges and attorneys on a daily basis in his or her official capacity as prosecutor. Engaging in a separate law practice invites conflicts of interest,” said Senator Thomas. “Prosecutors in large counties also take on very demanding caseloads. If the prosecutor has a private practice, there will always be concern that the taxpayers’ interests are not a priority. Ohioans expect and deserve their county prosecutor to be engaged and in the office on a daily basis.”
There are currently six Ohio counties with populations large enough to fall under the requirements in this bill. These counties are Cuyahoga, Franklin, Summit, Montgomery, Lucas, and Hamilton. Of those six counties, only Hamilton has a part-time prosecutor. Hamilton is also the only county of the largest six with a prosecutor who retains a private legal practice.