(A) When directed by the governor or general assembly, the attorney general may investigate any organized criminal activity in this state. When it appears to the attorney general, as a result of an investigation conducted pursuant to this division, that there is cause to prosecute for the commission of a crime, the attorney general shall refer the evidence to the prosecuting attorney having jurisdiction of the matter, to a regular grand jury drawn and impaneled pursuant to sections 2939.01 to 2939.24 of the Revised Code, or to a special grand jury drawn and impaneled pursuant to section 2939.17 of the Revised Code. When the crime or the elements of the crime were committed in two or more counties, the referral shall be to the prosecuting attorney, the regular grand jury, or a special grand jury of the county in which the most significant portion of the crime or the elements of the crime occurred or, if it is not possible to determine that county, the county with the largest population. When evidence is referred directly to a grand jury pursuant to this section, the attorney general and any assistant or special counsel designated by the attorney general has the exclusive right to appear at any time before the grand jury to give information relative to a legal matter cognizable by it, or to advise upon a legal matter when required, and may exercise all rights, privileges, and powers of prosecuting attorneys in such cases.
(1) When information is referred to the attorney general by an organized crime task force or the organized crime investigations commission pursuant to section 177.03 of the Revised Code, the attorney general shall review the information so referred and upon a determination that there is cause to prosecute for the commission of a crime, the attorney general either shall refer the information as evidence to a regular or special grand jury in the manner described in, and in the county determined in accordance with the provisions of, division (A) of this section or shall initiate a criminal action or proceeding in a court of proper jurisdiction. If an indictment is returned by a grand jury pursuant to a referral made under this division, the attorney general has sole responsibility to prosecute the accused offender.
(2) The attorney general, and any assistant or special counsel designated by the attorney general who appears under this division in any county for the prosecution of any crime has the same powers and authority as a prosecuting attorney, including, but not limited to, powers relating to attendance before the courts and grand juries of the county, preparation and trial of indictments for crimes, and representation of the state in any criminal proceeding, in any civil proceeding related to the crime, or in any appeal from a criminal case or from a civil case related to the crime in any court of this state.
(C) When proceeding under the authority of this section, the attorney general may appear for the state in any court or tribunal of proper jurisdiction for the purpose of conducting investigations under division (A) of this section, or for the purpose of conducting criminal proceedings, civil proceedings, or any other proceeding that is necessary to promote and safeguard the public interests of the citizens of this state.
(D) This section shall not be construed to prevent the attorney general and prosecuting attorneys or special prosecutors from cooperating in the investigation and prosecution of offenses under this section. However, in cases in which information was referred to the attorney general by an organized crime task force because the office of a prosecuting attorney was implicated by an investigation conducted by the task force, the attorney general shall not inform the implicated prosecutor of the investigation or referral and shall not cooperate with the prosecutor on the matter.
(E) As used in this section, "organized criminal activity" has the same meaning as in section 177.01 of the Revised Code.
Effective Date: 01-01-1999