Born and raised in Ohio, Steve Dettelbach has stood before judges and juries to protect our communities from dangerous criminals and to stop corrupt politicians from both parties. As a federal prosecutor for more than 20-years, Steve put child abusers, drug dealers, and human traffickers in jail, and he secured convictions against both Democrats and Republicans who broke the law. As Attorney General, Steve will enforce the law to protect Ohio’s children and families, and take on the politicians and political insiders to crack down on corruption, influence peddling, and backroom deals.
Steve began his career in 1992 as a prosecutor in the Criminal Section of the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Civil Rights Division. In one of his first cases, he worked with the FBI to investigate Ku Klux Klan violence in Vidor, Texas. In another early case, he prosecuted the operators of a California sweatshop for illegally smuggling 70 Thai women into the country and using them as slaves. It was one of the first modern-day human trafficking cases in the U.S.
In 2003, Steve took a position as a prosecutor on the DOJ’s Northern Ohio Organized Crime and Corruption Strike Force. As a member of the Strike Force, it was Steve’s job to hold politicians in both parties accountable when they broke the rules. In one blockbuster case, Steve worked with the FBI to convict a sitting mayor who traded official favors for envelopes of cash, a city councilman as well as the businessmen who offered the bribes.
In 2009, Steve was appointed U.S. Attorney for Ohio’s Northern District where he was responsible for protecting 6 million Ohioans across 40 counties.
Under Steve’s leadership, prosecutors in the Northern District worked side-by-side with law enforcement to take down drug rings that smuggled heroin into Ohio from Mexico and other places, and to take some of the state’s most dangerous criminals off the streets, including child pornographers, terrorist recruits, and a child murderer. Steve and his team cracked down on government corruption, locking up officials who took bribes, and won human trafficking convictions against more than 40 defendants who preyed on young girls and other vulnerable people in Ohio. Steve also sent polluters to prison, including one CEO who ordered his employees to dump fracking waste into a storm drain that fed into the Mahoning River in the middle of the night.
In February 2016, Steve announced he would step down as U.S. Attorney and enter private practice. While Steve had many accomplishments in the courtroom during his years in public service, some of his biggest contributions came in the community. As one example, Steve formed a ground-breaking task force to combat the opioid epidemic that brought together law enforcement, health care providers and addiction treatment specialists. He also worked with Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson, and police and community leaders to formulate a comprehensive plan to improve police-community relations and to also give officers new equipment and training.
Steve launched his campaign for Ohio Attorney General in the summer of 2017 after traveling Ohio for months and visiting places as diverse as Cleveland’s African American churches and Appalachia’s union halls. Across these very different communities, hundreds of miles apart, Steve heard a very similar theme from the people he spoke with — a belief that politicians have rigged the system to benefit themselves and powerful special interests, while real problems facing Ohio like the opioid crisis have gone largely unaddressed and hard-working people have struggled to get ahead. It is this broken system that Steve will work to fix as Ohio Attorney General by standing up to politicians in both parties and using his experience to protect Ohio from violent crime, public corruption and other threats.
Steve lives in the Cleveland area with his wife and two children.