Most Interesting People 2013: Tim McGinty

Tim McGinty

cuyahoga county prosecutor, 61

Watch and learn Working as a probation officer while in law school, McGinty watched prosecutors during trials to figure out how to succeed in a courtroom. "As a prosecutor, you have to be 100 percent honest with a jury," McGinty says. "You can't lie, you can't twist, you can't bend it. They expect the defense to do that ... but the prosecutor's got to be straight up all the way."

Book 'em "There's great waste and inefficiency in our [criminal justice] system. As a result, people can be victimized, people can be killed." McGinty wants to set up a 24-hour central booking system, with prosecutors evaluating charges, checking suspects' backgrounds and separating the most dangerous offenders from those with easily resolved cases.

Wrongful convictions As an assistant prosecutor in 1988, McGinty won the conviction of Michael Green for a sexual assault he did not commit. When Green proved his innocence, McGinty apologized and began studying wrongful convictions. "Mistakes can happen. We've always got to look out for them." He is setting up a unit to review claims of innocence and newly discovered evidence in past convictions.

Running through history McGinty has run 120 marathons; his personal best time is 3 hours, 40 minutes. His favorite race is the Boston Marathon, which passes through Boston College and over the legendary Heartbreak Hill and ends in historic downtown Boston. "It's a test, a barometer of how I'm doing physically. It's my twisted definition of fun."

Judge v. Stern As a judge, McGinty survived a public feud with radio shock jock Howard Stern. In 1994, Stern's live broadcast from a Flats bar was interrupted by an engineer from rival WMMS, who cut a cable. McGinty sentenced the engineer to 10 days in jail and called Stern a "crude and obscene rabble-rouser." An enraged Stern endorsed McGinty's next challenger and gave him national airtime. McGinty won the election and sent Stern roses, candy and a note that read, "Thank you for all your help."

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