JEFFERSON — Cecelia Cooper is officially appointed as Ashtabula County prosecutor to fill the remainder of former prosecutor Nicholas Iarocci’s term.
Cooper, who had served as chief assistant prosecutor under Iarocci, was appointed previously by the Ashtabula County Board of Commissioners to fill the seat until the Democratic Central Committee appointed someone to fill out the remainder of the term. Iarocci is now Conneaut Municipal Court judge.
On Wednesday the Central Committee met and voted to appoint Cooper as that person. Cooper, who is running in November as the Democratic candidate for county prosecutor, will hold the seat until the end of the year.
Three Republican candidates — Malcolm Douglas, David Per Due and Colleen O’Toole — are also seeking the prosecutor’s seat. All candidates will appear on the March 17 primary ballot.
Debbie Newcomb, who chairs the Ashtabula County Democratic Party, said Cooper, who has nearly 30 years of experience as an attorney, is well-suited for the job.
The 40 members of the committee who were present at the meeting voted unanimously in favor of Cooper filling the term, Newcomb said. Former county prosecutor Thomas Sartini, who hired Cooper eight years ago when she came on board with the county prosecutor’s office, was at the meeting and spoke in favor of the appointment as well, Newcomb said.
There were no nominations from the floor and no other resumes to consider, Newcomb said.
“Everyone was thoroughly impressed with her resume and background,” Newcomb said. “Most of her experience has been in trial and criminal court.”
Cooper, who has worked in the office as both an assistant and chief assistant prosecutor, said she’s honored the party and county commissioners appointed her. It was humbling to see both Iarocci and Sartini at the meeting.
“I plan to continue the efforts of both men to provide the best service possible to the agencies and boards we represent and to be personally accessible at all times to those clients,” Cooper said. “I also plan to continue to partner with law enforcement to seek justice on behalf of the citizens of Ashtabula County in all the criminal cases we prosecute.”
Cooper said as part of efforts to obtain justice for citizens, the office is in the process of moving to a more efficient case management system that will make it easier for the prosecutor’s office to obtain necessary information from law enforcement and provide it to defense counsel sooner.
“We are hopeful this will make it easier to get criminal cases through the court system faster,” she said.