03/01/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Lying Voter Fraud D.A. Also a Racist?

So I'm grinding my way through the last semester of law school. One of the classes I've chosen is Criminal Adjudication. In the past week I've learned that the power of the prosecutor is extraordinary. If he decides not to charge, there's not a thing anyone can say or do about it. This isn't academic. Even if a murderer films his deed, smiles for the camera, and strolls over to the prosecutor's office tape in hand, if the D.A. declines prosecution, that's it.

Likewise, a D.A.'s decision to prosecute is virtually untouchable. So, for example, if a town has 300 crack-related arrests and 300 crack-related prosecutions - and every prosecution happens to be that of a black man or woman... And there are zero prosecutions of whites caught with crack... Well, unless some sort of evidence can be developed that demonstrates that racism motivated the prosecutor's decisions to charge blacks and not whites, the prosecution is untouchable. Moreover, even in the unlikely case that racism is somehow shown to be a motive, the prosecutor is untouchable - he can't be charged or punished for his racism. He, by virtue of his position, enjoys absolute immunity with regards to any decisions he makes or actions he takes as D.A.

That is why I am writing this post.

Prosecutors are simply too powerful for the kind of chicanery that follows to be tolerated.

Some of you may remember Joe Deters from the heat of election season last fall.

Deters was Southwest Ohio regional chairman of Republican John McCain's presidential campaign, when he complained in October that some people were violating the so-called "golden week" that allowed anyone to register to vote and then vote at the same time.


Deters claimed his office had concrete allegations that people were offered booze and cigarettes to vote specific ways, suggesting they were voting for Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama.

Well, surprise. It turns out he was, ahem, mistaken.

The only criminal case stemming from Deters allegations of widespread voter fraud last fall was against a Connecticut man.

Kevin Duffy, 24, pleaded guilty Dec. 29 to attempted false voter registration and was sentenced to one year of probation, a $1,000 fine and 250 hours of community service.

Duffy was in town Oct. 4 to visit his Xavier University sister but went to the University of Cincinnati where he registered to vote and voted on the same day.

A week later, Duffy felt guilty and called Hamilton County elections officials to tell them what he did and ask that his vote not be counted. It wasn't.

That is interesting enough, but that's not why I'm writing.

Check this out.

Joseph T. Deters, Prosecuting Attorney
Hamilton County
230 E. Ninth Street, Suite 4000
Cincinnati, Ohio 45202

Mr. Deters:

Reportedly you recently shared a joke about the potential assassination of Barack Obama. I'm writing today in an attempt to verify the facts.

The report was published last week in "The Whistleblower," a hardcore racist newsletter written by Cincinnatian Jim Schifrin.

You'll recall I've repeatedly written you to ask about your relationship with Schifrin because he regularly reports items about lunch dates with you. Here are the May 2008 e-mails I wrote you (to which I never received a reply)

[letter at link]


I never received a reply to that either, but when our camera caught up with you that week at the McCain for President rally on Fountain Square, you said your relationship with Schifrin was "your personal life." You then walked away and two of your associates blocked our camera. Here's the video:

Googling turned up other instances of Deters' suspect race record.

If the Jena 6 and Genarlow Wilson and Abner Louima and Amadou Diallo have taught us anything, it's that we just cannot afford to have racists in positions of authority.

Joe Deters needs to find another line of work. I hope you agree.

Joseph T. Deters, Prosecuting Attorney
Hamilton County
230 E. Ninth Street, Suite 4000
Cincinnati, Ohio 45202
(513) 946-3000