Legal Community
Scott Criss
Scott Criss, Section Chief
Section Chief
Alex Kennedy
Alex Kennedy, Assistant Section Chief
Asst. Section Chief

Section Phone Number: 614-644-7233
AGO Help Center: 800-282-0515

About the AGO > Service Divisions > Criminal Justice

Criminal Justice

The Criminal Justice Section is composed of three units:

The Capital Crimes Unit works to uphold lawfully imposed death sentences.  This generally includes many years of litigation in the federal courts opposing challenges brought by inmates who claim that their death sentences were improper.  The Unit provides assistance to county prosecutors at the trial level in death penalty cases, when requested, and also participates with the county prosecutor in responding to clemency requests prior to execution.

The Habeas Unit works to keep dangerous criminals in prison by opposing litigation brought by inmates who seek to overturn valid convictions and prison sentences.  Once the appellate process has been exhausted, inmates often attempt to collaterally attack their conviction through a petition for a writ of habeas corpus.  The Habeas Unit has successfully defended these petitions up to the Ohio Supreme Court and Sixth Circuit.

The Corrections Litigation Unit defends the State of Ohio, Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, Adult Parole Authority, and Department of Youth Services in lawsuits brought by inmates.  Although the unit handles state and federal cases at all levels, it primarily litigates Section 1983 civil rights lawsuits brought by inmates in Ohio’s twenty-eight prisons.  The unit also defends against petitions for writs of mandamus brought by inmates and supervised releasees, as well as Wrongful Imprisonment claims on behalf of the State.