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Ohio Attorney General On Intervention In High Profile Local Cases

It is not uncommon for the Ohio Attorney General’s office to step in on some high profile cases throughout the state. The Steubenville rape case, the police involved shooting death of John Crawford in a Beavercreek Wal Mart and the fatal shooting of a 12 year old Cleveland area boy by a police officer are some of the most recent examples of situations where the A.G.’s office has taken lead roles. Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine says the process for deciding whether to intervene in local cases is pretty simple.

“The decision whether the Attorney General’s office and B.C.I. will become involved in an investigation is not our decision," says DeWine. "That is something that the local police department, the local sheriff’s department or the local prosecuting attorney decides. We cannot step into these investigations without a request from a local police agency. Usually those requests come about for one of several reasons. Either local police department thinks there is a conflict with them investigating the case or they want us [to do a highly specialized part of the investigation].”

The Mayor of Cleveland has been critical of DeWine’s role in the recent police involved shooting there. But DeWine says he was asked by the local police and sheriff’s departments to take an active role in that investigation. He says his agency cannot, by law, intervene in local cases unless the local police agencies request his help.