Guide: County prosecutors

Incumbent Deters faces Dem rookie Rucker

BY ALEX KELLY, Staff Writer
Photo courtesy of Fanon Rucker for Prosecutor and Joe Deters for Prosecutor via Facebook
Incumbent Joe Deters (left) is challenged by Judge Fanon Rucker (right.)

Incumbent Republican Joe Deters is being challenged this fall by Democrat Fanon Rucker for the contentious seat of the Hamilton County Prosecuting Attorney. The pair have previously run against each other in 2004, with Deters winning the position. 

Joe Deters (R) 

Experience: Deters is the incumbent and Hamilton County’s longest-serving elected prosecutor. He served as the prosecutor from 1992 to 1999. In 1999 he was elected to the Office of Ohio Treasurer. He served as treasurer for six years before returning to the role of county prosecutor from 2004 to the present. 

Policy: Deters introduced and enacted the Daly Bill, which is intended to recognize fetuses as people in the eyes of the law. Deters also streamlined the sex offender unit in charge of monitoring and registering sex offenders. 

The Death Penalty: Deters is in favor of utilizing the death penalty in cases that apply. Rucker has criticized his opponent heavily on this, citing Hamilton County’s abnormally high death penalty per capita rate. 

Racial Justice: Deters acknowledges the right to protest, but disavows violent protest and “rioting.” He does not support defunding the police. Deters frames the distinction between himself and Rucker as the difference between “law and order” and anarchy, citing the indictment of 14 people connected to local protest leading to a decrease of riots.

Fanon Rucker (D) 

Experience:  Rucker has served as a municipal judge for 12 years. Before that was a civil rights attorney and prosecutor. Rucker won the Democratic nomination over Gabe Davis. 

Policy: Rucker is proposing several policies to eliminate cash bail for nonviolent criminal offenses and a reentry court to support formerly incarcerated people’s transition back into their communities. Deters critiques Rucker’s bail policies, saying that judges, not prosecutors, set bail. Deters frequently brings up Rucker’s past of setting bail as a judge. 

The Death Penalty: Rucker supports abolishing the death penalty altogether within Hamilton County. He argues this on the basis of the cost of prosecuting death penalty cases, as well as the number of death row inmates who are exonerated. 

Racial Justice: Rucker acknowledges the right to protest and disavows more violent protest. Rucker is against defunding the police, but adds that the prosecutor’s office needs to employ more diversity to reflect the population of Hamilton County.