PRESS RELEASE, 11/23/2011

Hamilton County Prosecutor Joseph T. Deters announces conclusion of investigation into return of Demarcus Jackson to his parents

No criminal charges to be filed.

Today, Hamilton County Prosecutor Joseph T. Deters announced that his office has concluded its investigation of the Hamilton County Department of Jobs and Family Services (“JFS”) return of Demarcus Jackson to his parents, Antrone Smith and Latricia Jackson.  No criminal charges will be filed against any JFS workers as a result of this investigation.

The Hamilton County Prosecutor’s Office reviewed all of the JFS records relating to this case.  These records contained thousands of pages of notes and information regarding the process for the return of DeMarcus to his parents.  The investigation revealed that all of the JFS workers and court personnel involved in this case followed the law.

Both state and federal law (Section 2151.419 ORC and 42 USC 671) provide that in these situations that the “child’s health and safety shall be the paramount concern” but “reasonable efforts shall be made to preserve and reunify families.”  The law also does not provide for indefinite placement of children with foster families.  Foster families, by definition, are intended as temporary placements until a child can be reunited with his family or placed for adoption.  In this case, after reviewing all of the information available and after numerous court hearings, the decision was made to return the child to his parents. 

Prosecutor Deters commented, “After reviewing the voluminous records in this case, it is clear that the JFS workers and court personnel involved followed the law and no criminal charges are appropriate. There was nothing in the detailed notes and progress reports that could have predicted such violent behavior by the father.

The blame in this case should be placed squarely on the parents.

I have, however, taken this tragedy as an opportunity to talk with Hamilton County Commissioner Greg Hartmann and urge him to review the policies and procedures for this process. I have pledged, along with Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, to help in any way possible to make sure that Ohio law and policies protect the safety of children in these situations.  Perhaps it is time to amend the law as it relates to reunification to make sure that this tragedy does not occur again.”