J.D. Emory University School of Law
Bachelor of Arts Washington and Jefferson College
High School Villa Maria Academy
Training and Experience
I have served in the Ashtabula County Prosecutor’s Office for almost ten years. I was hired as an assistant prosecutor in 2011. Then was asked by Nick Iarocci to serve as his chief assistant in early 2015. When he was elected judge, I was appointed County Prosecutor.
I’ve been an attorney for over 27 years. My first job after law school was as a law clerk, researching and writing legal opinions for judges. Then I opened my own law office and was in private practice for almost 10 years. I represented clients in both civil and criminal cases. Those years taught me how important it is to take care of your clients and to respond to their questions in a timely manner. After 10 years, I decided to do something that really made me feel good about being a lawyer, so I became a prosecutor. After eight years as a prosecutor in Georgia, I moved to Ashtabula County and in 2011 was hired as an assistant prosecutor by Tom Sartini. I prosecuted every type of crime. In 2015, Nick Iarocci asked me to serve as his chief assistant. As his chief, I have been co-counsel in every murder case that was tried in Ashtabula County in the past five years. In January of this year I took over as the County Prosecutor and continue to serve you in that capacity today.
There are practical skills the Prosecuting Attorney needs. She has to be a skilled trial lawyer ready to assist her staff with any case that may be pending. She needs to be able to prioritize requests from multiple clients. She needs to be an able administrator who will be a good steward of the taxpayers’ money.
There are also intangible qualities that are important in a prosecuting attorney. She needs to be trusted by law enforcement so that when they ask her a question they trust they’re getting the right answer. She needs to be able to communicate advice concisely and effectively. Most importantly, she needs to be invested in making Ashtabula County a better place for all of us to live.
Equality is essential to our criminal justice system. As Prosecutor, you have to have open and honest communication with law enforcement during an investigation. I have always been available to consult with officers twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. If they have a question, they know they can call me and get my best advice. It isn’t always the answer they want, but it is always based on the law.
Once a case is turned over to us for review, I try to remain consistent. I look at what the witnesses say, what the physical evidence indicates, and what I believe I can prove beyond a reasonable doubt. Each case with similar facts is treated the same way, no matter who the defendant is.
The same is true of sentencing recommendations. I have always based my sentencing recommendation on the seriousness of the offense, the wishes of the victim, the history of the defendant and other recommendations I have made in similar circumstances.
Without a doubt, the most influential period of my life was my childhood. I was lucky. I had two loving parents who would do anything for their children. I look back now and it’s surprising how much of who I am is because of their influence. They didn’t grow up well-off and neither did we. I had part-time jobs through high school, college and law school. I had to work hard for what I wanted and they encouraged me to never give up. I carry that tenacity and confidence with me today. It makes me a better prosecutor. When I am in a courtroom, I will fight for what I think is right to the end.
They also taught us to treat others with respect. As a prosecutor, you meet and work with all types of witnesses and victims. I am a better person because they taught me to treat the drug addict who has been assaulted with the same courtesy as the homeowner who was robbed.
As County Prosecutor I continue to do the same public out reach I’ve done during my entire career here as an assistant prosecutor. I work with the Child Advocacy Center’s multidisciplinary team to improve the investigation and prosecution of child sexual assault cases. I am part of the sexual assault response team working to ensure rape victims receive the support and counseling they will need throughout the criminal justice process. I work with experts in their fields to expand the treatment options available to those dealing with addiction.
I would like to become more involved in projects in our school systems. We must encourage our youth to stay in school and get their education. We need to continue to educate them about the dangers of drug use. I would like to be more involved in that outreach.
John Carroll University B.A. History Political Science
Cleveland Marshall Law School Juris Doctorate
Duke Law School LLM Dec 2020
Training and Experience
Appellate Judge 11 th District Court of Appeals International Commercial Judge
Legal Consultant Abu Dhabi Judicial Department
Attorney In house counsel National Interstate
sole proprietor Law Ofiices Colleen M OToole
Founder, On Demand Interpretation Servic
I have held the elective office in Ashtabula as a Judge in the 11TH District Court of Appeals for 12 years. My justice system experience is vast, having written and decided over 800 appellate opinions including death penalty appeals and sitting on the Ohio Supreme Court as a visiting judge. I am presently serving as an international commercial legal consultant /judiciary member in the United Arab Emirates where I was chosen from a pool of over 350 applicants to help recommend best practices to modernize their justice system. I have personally tried over 300 cases to verdict, I am a former Guardian ad litem and foster parent, I am the founder of an award-winning technology startup. My previous experience includes public defender major trial division, in house litigation manager for an insurance company, small firm law partner. I am tough, innovative, and experienced dedicated to Best Practice and trained in both civil, commercial, and criminal law:
The job is diverse encompassing criminal prosecution, civil matters, managerial, policy and administrative responsibility for the county. The primary role of the prosecutor is to keep the citizens safe and bring criminals to justice. I have extensive Criminal trial and appellate experience trying jury trials in the major trial division of the public defender’s office Cuyahoga county. I have represented over 100 cases of children who are victims of Abuse as well as women who have been victims of Domestic violence. The role of the prosecutor serves as the chief legal officer for the county, which is a public entity, having a 24-million-dollar budget, its office holders, and its trustees. All contracts are reviewed by the prosecutor, whether it is building a new jail or answering questions about federal grant dollars. My broad based legal, managerial, judicial entrepreneurial, business, civil, and criminal experience gives me all these skills.
I believe racism exists within the US justice system. I also believe police are first responders and heroes. The present conflict does not have an easy diagnosis or resolution. It is rooted in our culture and will take time to unwind. Many of the solutions are cross racial. The extent that it exists here in Ashtabula would need to be determined using data analytics and evidence-based protocols. We need smart systems and we need to identify people that are committing nonviolent crimes due to poverty or opioid addiction verses those that are violent and dedicated to harming our neighbors. There are many cost-effective alternatives to keeping people safe. Prosecutors must find ways to balance public health and public safety regardless of color or socio-economic status. This includes being innovative bold and unafraid to try new programs that work using public and private partnerships. We must give police, courts, and prosecutors the training and the tools they need to combat the issues
My non legal background is rooted in service, entrepreneurship, small business ownership, as a mother and a former foster parent. My first job was held at age 15 working at McDonalds. The oldest of 4 girls in a single-family household, my father was absent and an alcoholic and we received subsidized lunch. My mom worked at John Carroll University for minimum wage so that we could go to college for free. It was a benefit of her employment. She was not a college graduate and felt it was the best gift she could give us. I was the recipient of many gifts and my successes are attributable to the work, charity, faith, and vision of others to whom I am grateful. My hard work, resilience has also been helpful. Adult experiences include being the victim of domestic violence, a single mother, a fierce and unwavering advocate against injustice and for those in need. As a result of these experiences and the many gifts I have been given it has taught me empathy, sympathy,and the ability to listen.
Instilling a culture of ethical legal representation, servant leadership, and public service within the office, promoting best practice.
• Guaranteeing an effective efficient and accountable office.
• Work with and collaborate with all justice partners including the public, attorneys, litigants, judges, commissioners, news media.
• Create a completely efficient and accessible system using remote modern technology dashboards, data analytics, remote communication and social networking to make the office technologically accessible and create a culture of access including a 24-hour return contact policy for victims, clients and stakeholders.