Possible Independent Prosecutor Candidate On November Ballot
By Elizabeth Miller
Organizers say they’ve collected the more than 33-hundred signatures needed to get independent candidate Annette Butler onto the November ballot for Cuyahoga County prosecutor.
If the signatures are valid, Butler will face either incumbent Timothy McGinty or Michael O’Malley in the general election—both Democrats. As assistant law director at the City of Cleveland, Butler says she was looking for someone else to run for the job.
“Back in December, a major politician in the Democratic Party, 2 community activists, and a major person in the Republican Party asked me to meet with them," said Butler.
"Somehow I wound up the one that they wanted to choose. And they talked me into it.”
Butler ran for prosecutor in 2008 as a Republican but lost to Democrat Bill Mason. Several of her views differ from McGinty and O’Malley, especially on the Tamir Rice case.
“I would’ve indicted those two officers," said Butler. "And what else would I have done differently? I would’ve made sure that went swiftly to the grand jury.”
O’Malley has never stated publicly if he would have indicted the Cleveland Police officers involved in the death of 12-year old Rice.
McGinty recommended no indictment for the officers and a grand jury agreed with him back in December.
Butler says that she would bring a unique perspective to the county prosecutor job because of her current position with the city.
"I'm constantly being involved in the protocols, and the process, and what the police department actually does - why they do it, how it's organized, who's in charge, and how they make decisions," said Butler.
She says her job includes defending lawsuits filed against the Cleveland Police Department and Fire Departments, but Butler does not handle use of force cases.
Butler also disagrees with the McGinty and O'Malley's idea to send all use of deadly force cases to the Ohio Attorney General.
"They have enough work to do themselves," said Butler. "That’s not what they are charged with - the prosecutor is charged with handling those cases.”
Butler ran unsuccessfully in 2012 to remain a judge on the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas after she replaced McGinty in 2011 so he could run for prosecutor. She worked as a federal prosecutor for 24 years and a teacher in a paralegal studies program for 5 years.
The deadline to submit signatures to be on the ballot is Monday.