YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Lynn Maro is one of the area’s most respected defense lawyers who has tried some of Mahoning County’s most high-profile cases. On Thursday, Maro announced she wants to be Mahoning County’s next prosecuting attorney.

She was critical of how the prosecutor’s office has been run, while the woman who’s currently the prosecutor said she’s not sure what Maro is talking about.

Thursday afternoon, Maro started her campaign for Mahoning County prosecutor by telling the 75 people in the courthouse rotunda that she’s not a politician.

“I’m an attorney who has been in the halls of this courthouse, and the courthouses in our tri-county area, for over 30 years,” she said.

Maro then explained why she’s running for prosecutor, as a Republican, in 2024.

“Quite frankly, I think I can do a better job than’s being done right now,” she said.

Maro said that former Prosecutor Paul Gains, who held the job for 26 years, ran for the right reasons — to make a difference.

“Likewise, I’ve observed things that are just wrong,” she said.

Without being specific, Maro said there have been violent crime cases over the past 20 years that have been dismissed or had convictions vacated.

“Not because of novel legal issues but because evidence wasn’t turned over or the prosecutor didn’t follow the rules,” she said.

“Well, I’m not quite sure what she’s referring to,” said Mahoning County Prosecutor Gina DeGenova.

DeGenova became prosecutor after Gains resigned. She previously worked in the office for 17 years. She says the prosecutor’s office has tried thousands of cases over those years.

“You know, when Paul Gains took office, his predecessor was fixing cases. So I guess, all in all, Paul Gains’ tenure would be a vast improvement,” DeGenova said.

When asked if there have been mistrials and cases dismissed, DeGenova said, “Over the last 20 years? I’m sure that there have but I’m not aware of the particular cases.”

So, two women will be running for Mahoning County prosecutor — it’s a fact that was not lost on DeGenova.

“I mean, I think it’s a testament to how far we have come as a nation and a community. I think there are a lot of little girls out there that have a lot to look up to and I’m proud to be part of that,” DeGenova said.

So far, Attorney Brad Gessner has been the only other person to announce he’s running for prosecutor. Gessner will likely run as a Democrat against DeGenova.

There are still 13 months to the primary and 21 months to the election, so anything can happen.