CSU Law Professor Matthew Ahn to weigh a run for Cuyahoga County Prosecutor

Matthew Ahn, a Visiting Professor of Law at Cleveland State, launched an exploratory committee to consider a campaign for Cuyahoga County Prosecutor in 2024. 

Ahn, who grew up in North Royalton and studied at Case Western Reserve University, looks to bring justice to his students at Tri-C, where he previously taught. 

“I went to CWRU for undergrad, where I had my first experiences seeing untold wealth, but also untold poverty just steps from campus. Like my parents have for nearly 30 years, I taught at Tri-C, where my students faced structural barriers I never had to deal with or imagine,” Ahn said in a statement. “I went to law school to try to bring justice for my students at Tri-C. Not justice as punishment, but justice as security and opportunity.”

Ahn has worked at the Federal Public Defender’s office and as an appellate public defender’s office in New York City. 

“I became a public defender, with a front-row seat to the ugly consequences of conflating justice and punishment. As a sentencing and post-conviction specialist, I had to confront the system’s negative effects not just for my clients, but for victims and entire communities,” Ahn said in a statement. “Justice, even after a crime occurs, is about allowing a community to heal.”

Ahn, who has succeeded as a litigator, believes that his greatest qualification to be a county prosecutor is his belief that winning is not always worth it.

If elected in 2024, Ahn plans to put a moratorium on all transfers of children to adult court, never seek the death penalty, and implement policies to reduce the population at the Cuyahoga County jail by moving cases along, which also will help the county save money on a new jail.

Ahn also wants to restore the Conviction Integrity Unit and start a public integrity unit and a Labor Justice unit.

“Public Integrity, so our elected officials are held to the same standards as you or me, and Labor Justice, so employers that steal from their workers are held accountable just as we enforce the reverse,” Ahn said in a statement.

With his proposed policies, Ahn believes that a better path is forward for Cuyahoga County.

“We can build a better path forward if we are serious about good policy,” Ahn said.