Published on: Saturday, January 14, 2023

A prosecutor with more than two decades of big city crime-fighting under his belt will walk into the Ohio Supreme Court on Wednesday. But he won’t be arguing the cases at the dais; he’ll be sitting on the bench (article available here).

It will be the first time Joe Deters, the long-time Republican Hamilton County prosecutor, goes from putting Cincinnati defendants behind bars to weighing whether the law was properly applied. With no previous judicial experience, he’ll hear arguments over a death penalty appeal and a pair of cases challenging whether prison terms can be extended for bad behavior.

“This is an old school prosecutor. ‘Throw the book at them. Put them on death row.’ It’s hard to imagine he experiences some kind of Supreme Court epiphany in this new role,” a University of Cincinnati politics professor said.

Deters, who declined an interview, has a reputation for a bombastic, aggressive prosecuting style that detractors say raises concerns.

He came under fire for advocating that Ohio should bring back the firing squad for death penalty executions, saying that violent criminals are “soulless and unsalvageable.”