Long-time Ohio elected official Jim Petro retiring

4:07 PM, Dec 17, 2012   |    comments
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COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Chancellor Jim Petro, whose long career in public service has included 12 years as Ohio's auditor and attorney general, is retiring.

The 64-year-old Petro on Monday announced he'll end his run in February after two years as state higher education chief.

The Republican from outside Cleveland ran for governor in 2006 but lost the GOP primary to Secretary of State Ken Blackwell.

In 2005, Petro became the first state attorney general in the nation to intervene for the use of DNA evidence on behalf of a wrongly convicted inmate.

His work helped exonerate Clarence Elkins, an Ohio man wrongly accused of rape and murder.

Petro and his wife, Nancy, wrote a book on the experience, which will be the center of an international tour after he retires.

The Ohio Republcian Party released the following statement Monday afternoon:

Ohio Republican Party Chairman Bob Bennett praised Jim Petro's long career in public service following his retirement announcement today.

"Jim Petro has been a courageous and accomplished leader for as long as I've known him," said Bob Bennett. "One of his most recent accomplishments was transforming one of the nation's largest higher education systems to bring a more hopeful future for thousands of Ohioans. Public service and Jim Petro have and will continue to be synonymous."

Petro has served as Ohio Attorney General (2003-2007) and Ohio Auditor of State (1995-2003).

In 28 years as an elected official, he also served as State Representative, Cuyahoga County Commissioner and Rocky River City Councilman and Law Director. Petro engaged in private practice of law for more than 20 years as a partner or managing partner in several Ohio law firms.

He was recognized as an "Ohio Super Lawyer" and a 33-year AV-rated lawyer from Martindale & Hubbell. In 2010, Petro and his wife, Nancy, co-authored the book, "False Justice," which addresses eight myths that lead to wrongful convictions in the American criminal justice system.

"False Justice" serves as a call to action, following true stories and outlining the need to overhaul a system that, Petro believes, places thousands of innocent people in prison. Petro was named the 2011 recipient of the Champion of Justice Award for Public Service by the Innocence Network, the coordinating body for 56 member organizations serving the wrongfully convicted and their families in the United States.

In 2010, Petro was recognized with the Ohio Government Finance Officers Association Timothy I. Murphy Excellence in Government Award, honoring his record of integrity, achievement and leadership in decades of public service. Additional achievements include his selection as an "Ohio Super Lawyer" by Law & Politics magazine and Cincinnati Magazine in 2006; receipt of a Legacy Award and Visionary Leadership Award from the Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police in 2005 and 2006; and receipt of a national March Fong Eu Achievement Award from the National Notary Association in 2005.

Petro earned a law degree from Case Western Reserve University in 1973 and a bachelor's degree in history from Denison University in 1970.

He also received honorary doctorates from The University of Toledo and Denison University. (Source: Ohio Board of Regents)


WKYC-TV/The Associated Press

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