The race for Hamilton County Prosecutor
By Justin Jeffre
Streetvibes asked both candidates running for the Hamilton County Prosecutors office these questions. Joe Deters did not respond. Please remember to vote this coming November.
Streetvibes: What is your position on the death penalty?
Trotter: Regardless of my personal beliefs and/or position on the death penalty, at this time, it is the law in the State of Ohio and my job as Hamilton County Prosecutor is to carry out the laws of the State of Ohio. I strongly believe though that the administration of the death penalty needs to be fair and equitable.
Streetvibes: What is your position on the sentencing reforms that recently took effect in Ohio? ( i.e. Now fewer nonviolent and first time offenders will be incarcerated),
Trotter: I am in favor of the sentencing reforms that recently took effect. The State has realized that being “tough” on crime is not enough. For serious and violent offenders being tough on crime is necessary but for those non-serious, non-violent offenders being “smart” on crime is the answer. Being smart on crime at every level of a person’s involvement in the system from the time they enter into the criminal justice system to the time they return to society benefits everyone; as most offenders will be released and this reform answers the question how do we help to ensure that the transition is smooth and conducive to becoming a productive, law abiding citizen. I believe that the Prosecutor’s Office should be at the table for all these discussions; and although it may not change how a case is handled, the Office by being at the table, should understand how it prosecutes cases could affect the underlying purpose of legislation such as this.
Streetvibes: What can be done to reduce disproportionate minority contact with the criminal justice system?
Trotter: There are so many parts to this issue beyond the control of the prosecutor’s office, which include policing and sentencing. As far as the prosecutor’s office is concerned, I plan to implement a case tracking procedure to determine at what level bias enters into the prosecution of a case. Only when you understand the problem and where it arises can you take the steps to correct it. I can assure the public that when elected Hamilton County Prosecutor there will be not be disparities in how cases are prosecuted or who gets prosecuted – justice will be administered equally and fairly regardless of race, class or any other factor that should not enter into decision making process when prosecuting a crime.
Streetvibes: Should the Prosecutor’s office be headed by a full-time leader?
Trotter: The Prosecutor’s Office should definitely be headed by a full time leader. The Prosecutor’s Office represents the State in juvenile, adult misdemeanor (outside of the City of Cincinnati), and adult felony matters on the criminal side. The office also represents the County, including the County Commissioners, Sheriff, Coroner, Auditor, Board of Elections, etc. This office touches the lives of every citizen in Hamilton County and needs a full time leader. The citizens of Hamilton County did not vote for the division heads to manage the Prosecutor’s Office, while the Chief Prosecutor they voted for is off handling cases at a law firm. With an office this size, responsibilities of this magnitude, and a budget to manage this large, a full time Prosecutor is definitely needed and when elected, unlike my opponent, I plan on serving as a full time prosecutor.