A Day in the Life of a State's Attorney Prosecutor

By: Meghan Dwyer
By: Meghan Dwyer

ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- Contrary to public opinion, being a prosecutor in Winnebago County isn't an easy 9 to 5 gig.

Assistant State's Attorneys work long hours with heavy caseloads. 23 News spent today behind the scenes trying to figure out if the real thing is anything like what we see on television.

She’s not a cop, but she might be the closest thing Rockford has to our very own "Olivia" on Law and Order SVU. We spent the day with Marilyn Hite-Ross, who is often referred to as Joe Bruscato's right hand man even though she's the highest ranking woman in the State's Attorneys Office ever.

She’s a proud Auburn High School Graduate and the first ever African American to have the title of Deputy State's Attorney. Most of her cases are double homicides, former death penalty cases, and sexual abuse of children. She doesn't like elevators, but like most of the assistant state's attorneys she often works seven days a week going to crime scenes in the middle of the night.

She said, "It’s a calling. I think you have to understand as a prosecutor you have awesome authority to determine a person's destiny and that must be done honestly, ethically and fairly despite socioeconomic background, ethnicity, etcetera."

Hite-Ross was a prosecutor in Cook County for 20 years, but every day she commuted from Rockford because she didn’t want to leave her hometown. We did the math and it's basically like spending a solid four and a half months in your car without stopping.

We learned that most of the big electronics in the State’s Attorneys Office including flat screen TVs and laptops used to belong to drug dealers and were paid for with drug money.

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