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The Office of the County Prosecuting Attorney is granted its authority by Ohio Revised Code Chapter 309. This chapter authorizes the county prosecuting attorney to:
"...inquire into the commission of crimes within the county. The prosecuting attorney shall prosecute, on behalf of the state, all complaints, suits, and controversies in which the state is a party, ... and other suits, matters, and controversies that the prosecuting attorney is required to prosecute within or outside the county, in the probate court, court of common pleas, and court of appeals. In conjunction with the attorney general, the prosecuting attorney shall prosecute in the supreme court cases arising in the prosecuting attorney's county..."

Chapter 309 also provides that the county prosecuting attorney shall be:
“…the legal adviser of the board of county commissioners, board of elections, all other county officers and boards, and all tax-supported public libraries…. [and] shall be the legal adviser for all township officers, boards, and commissions…” 

The prosecuting attorney is elected quadrennially and holds office for four years. The prosecuting attorney must be a qualified elector, an attorney at law, and licensed to practice law in the State of Ohio.
The current Mahoning County Prosecuting Attorney, Paul J. Gains, was elected to office in November 1996, and began his first four year term in January, 1997.
He has appointed approximately 30 assistant prosecuting attorneys and 15 additional support persons, making the Mahoning County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office one of the largest law firms in Mahoning County.