The Columbus Dispatch
Pierson seeking prosecutor office’s top job
First candidate to declare his bid to replace Tyack
Anthony Pierson is returning today for a third stint working as an attorney in the Franklin County Prosecutor’s Office, and simultaneously he is announcing he wants the office’s top job.
Pierson — a Democrat who has most recently worked in Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost’s office as the lead prosecutor on all officer shooting cases — is the first candidate to declare his bid to replace Franklin County Prosecutor Gary Tyack.
Tyack, also a Democrat who will be 78 when his four-year term ends in 2025, has said he will not run again in 2024.
Person’s announcement Monday that he is running comes after Tyack announced on April 24 that he had hired Pierson back as deputy chief counsel to oversee the office’s juvenile court and grand jury units. Pierson will also prosecute cases and work on minority recruitment for the office.
When Tyack sat down for an interview with The Dispatch earlier this month, Tyack hedged on the question of whether his hiring of Pierson was intended to set up Pierson to be his successor.
In his candidacy announcement, Pierson, 46, touted his 20 years of experience as a prosecuting attorney on high-profile felony cases at the county and state levels.
“I’m running for Franklin County prosecutor because I believe that justice should be fair and accessible for everyone, regardless of their race or socioeconomic status,” Pierson said. “I’m committed to building a criminal justice system that is transparent, accountable and safe for everyone in our community. However, should you commit a crime in
our county, you will be held accountable.”
Pierson is running to head a prosecutor’s office grappling with an increasing number of homicides and other serious crimes in the county, many involving gun violence. The office is currently handling about 250 indicted cases involving murder or manslaughter charges.
Pierson said he is committing to working with law enforcement, community leaders and residents to develop solutions to decrease violent crime. He said he also wants to improve community relations with law enforcement, reduce racial disparities in the justice system and expand access to diversion programs for nonviolent offenders.
Pierson’s candidacy comes at a time when the Franklin County electorate favors Democrats.
In an upset victory in 2020, Tyack defeated Republican Ron O’brien, the longest-serving prosecutor in county history at 24 years in office.
And Democrats have steadily gained ground in recent years in winning other Franklin County offices, including the courts, where the vast majority of judges are Democrats and some are Republicans who flipped to the Democratic party.
Pierson graduated in 2002 from the Ohio State University College of Law after earning a bachelor’s degree in economics in 1999 at Ball State University, where he ran track.
In his first stint at the Franklin County Prosecutor’s Office from 2005 to 2010, Pierson worked in the juvenile division and then the adult felony division. During his second stint from 2014 to 2019, Pierson worked in the gang unit.
Since 2019, Pierson has worked for the Ohio Attorney General’s Office as a principal assistant, where he handled all the office’s cases involving a law enforcement officer. Pierson was one of two attorneys with the attorney general’s office assigned to prosecute former Columbus police officer Adam Coy for murder.
Coy, who is white, is charged with murder in the fatal December 2020 shooting of Andre Hill, an unarmed Black man, during a response to a nonemergency noise complaint.
With Pierson leaving the attorney general’s office, it’s unclear who will take over the case against Coy. Tyack’s office has said an announcement on that is forthcoming.
Coy’s trial has been postponed indefinitely after it was revealed that the 46year-old has been diagnosed with cancer and needs to undergo treatment that would limit his ability to help his defense attorneys prepare for his trial. email@example.com @Lairdwrites