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Jane Hanlin, Jefferson County Prosecutor and 2023 OPAA PresidentOn behalf of the Ohio Prosecuting Attorneys Association let me welcome you to our website.  Here you will find information about the role of prosecuting attorneys and our Association.

The prosecutor’s role in the criminal justice system is often misunderstood.  Ohio’s 88 elected county prosecutors are committed to justice.  The prosecutors I know aren’t motivated by “winning” or trying to send everyone to prison for as long as possible. They are motivated by their responsibility to enforce the law, to make their communities safe and to fairly administer justice. And fairness and justice is what matters most of all.  Prosecutors live this every day.

Part of our role is to have a voice in public policy debates affecting the criminal justice system. To that end, Ohio’s prosecutors serve an important function reviewing and advocating for legislation with one goal in mind – the safety and security of our communities.

Ohio’s prosecutors are active in community and civic affairs.  From speaking to school children about the dangers of drugs to serving on numerous committees and commissions, Ohio’s elected prosecutors and their assistants serve in vital roles.

As legal counsel to a variety of County elected officials, offices and agencies your county prosecutor assists in ensuring efficient and responsible county government. 

I’m proud to be a prosecutor and honored to serve as President of the Ohio Prosecuting Attorneys Association.  Please take your time and look around.  Hopefully you will find information here that is educational and informative about your county prosecutor. 

Jane Hanlin

Jefferson County Prosecutor
2023 OPAA President

Career Opportunities

Amicus Committee Guidelines

OPAA Member Webinars

webinar piicture

Ohio's Judicial System: What you should know.

- OPAA Conviction Review Best Practices

- What do county prosecutors do?

- The grand jury

- Plea agreements

- DNA testing

- Death penalty

Upcoming Events:

Executive and Legislative Committee meetings. September 27th, Legislative 3:00, Executive 4:00
Crowne Plaza Cleveland at Playhouse Square Palace Ballroom II 2nd floor

Fall Training - September 28th and 29th, Crowne Plaza Cleveland at Playhouse Square.

Juvenile Prosecutor Training - October 19th, Marriott Columbus Northwest.

Annual Meeting - December 14th and 15th, Hilton Columbus at Easton.

Locate Your County Prosecutor

Back to School Time
Steven D. Barnett, Prosecuting Attorney
Carroll County

August is fast upon us and that means the winding down of summer fun, shorter summer days ahead, and a return to the classroom for our kids. As our communities return to the routines of kids heading back into the classroom, after-school activities and athletics, school rivalries, and the demands of academics, parents and community members alike must return to good habits and the need for a safe learning environment.

Back to school also means that parents, guardians, and teachers remain vigilant for bullying. Ohio law defines bullying as “any intentional written, verbal, graphic, or physical act that a student or a group of students exhibits towards another more than once” that both causes physical or mental harm to another student and that is sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive that it creates an intimidating, threatening, or abusive educational environment for another student. While bullying, as defined by the General Assembly, is not defined as a crime per se, the Ohio Revised Code, with its definition, requires school officials to investigate allegations of bullying, to adopt policies regarding bullying, and develop the disciplinary procedures for students determined to have bullied or harassed another student. Bullying has short and long term affects both on the student and the learning environment and it should not be dismissed as “teasing” or “kids being kids.”

Parents are the best offense and defense against bullying. Parents set the example of how students act and respond, and also must educate themselves to recognize the warning signs that their child is being bullied. Those signs include unexplained injuries a child may have; lost or destroyed clothing, electronics, textbooks, or other items; feelings of sickness and not wanting to go to school; sleeping difficulties; bad grades; loss of interest in school; sudden loss of friends and avoiding socializing; feelings of helplessness and decreased self-esteem. More seriously, some students will engage in self-destructive behaviors and may runaway or talk about suicide. Parents and guardians should stay involved with their child and their teachers to recognize the warning signs of bullying and to recognize changes in their child’s behaviors and attitudes.

Parents, guardians, and children should report bullying to teachers, school administrators, law enforcement, or school resource officers. The earlier an investigation can be started the earlier a child can be helped and the quicker law enforcement and school personnel can act to gather the appropriate evidence that is needed to assess whether school discipline is warranted or whether the conduct becomes criminal. Prosecutors can only prosecute criminal violations where there is sufficient evidence that supports a conviction beyond a reasonable doubt. The evidence needed to sustain that burden of proof requires a need for a comprehensive investigation that gathers that evidence. The earlier the investigation, the better the investigation and the better availability there is for law enforcement to collect that evidence and the better the chances are that a potential or appropriate criminal charge can be maintained. Criminal charges may not always be available in every circumstance. Whether or not criminal charges are filed, local victim advocacy offices across Ohio can likely refer students to counseling or other resources that may be available in their communities that address bullying and its effects.

If someone believes a bulling incident is a crime or someone is in endangered by bullying, contact your law enforcement agency or dial 9-1-1 and contact your school. Adults and students can dial 1-844-723-3764 for the Safer Ohio Schools Tipline to share student safety threats to both school personnel and law enforcement.

Our children are our greatest asset. Every child has a right a to a safe learning environment and every child is entitled to respect. Being a kid is tough enough. As the new school year begins let’s hope every kid has a successful, bully free school year.

A special thanks to Carroll County and Mrs. Barnett for her contribution on this story. Citations omitted

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