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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  • by Dave Location: Rockford on Nov 29, 2011 at 05:12 AM
    This person has a job due to affirmative action not because of capability. It is all politics at the expense of taxpayers. Her calling????? Yeah right. Generally if its your calling you make a positive contribution.
  • by Dave Location: Rockford on Nov 24, 2011 at 07:28 AM
    @Meghan Dwyer - Is this really the best you can do? Where were you taught how to do research? Where again I ask you are any tough questions? If I were a journalist of any sort I could not put my name on this article. Is your editing department run in the same manner as the states attorneys office?
  • by Democrat planted on Nov 23, 2011 at 05:19 PM
    This is a pitiful attempt by pretty Joe to shine some positive light on his failing office. He would do anything to get reelected. He is a horrible states attorney and he's trying to hide his failures by going on the news all the time and pretending he knows what he's doing. He doesn't. This woman is awful and has caused more tension between prosecutors and law enforcement than anything else. Those of us in law enforcement are organizing quickly to support anyone who will run against him. We have got to make a change!
  • by disgruntled on Nov 22, 2011 at 04:03 PM
    This article is ridiculous. This woman has turned a succesful State's Attorney's office into a joke. Literally a state wide joke. What the media should do is interview her employees and guarantee their anonymity. Then the real story of this monster would come out. Hey County Board-you want to know why our justice system is out of control here in Rockford? Look no further than this woman and her "calling"
  • by gagging on Nov 22, 2011 at 03:59 PM
    I have to comment-I must. This is the most ridiculous campaign driven piece I've ever read. Interview some defense attorneys, interview the cops that HATE her, interview the staff in her own office that are leaving as fast as they can because of her unethical control freak practices. Joe is a joke, he hasn't a clue how to run that office. They've lost the majority of their talented attorney's, and the remaining few are begging for new jobs. She is a nightmare. You want to find out why the jails are full? Ask her about her policy of removing all the discretion from each of her prosecutors, slowing case movement to a halt. Ask her about her over charging, the incredible rate of not-guilty verdicts, the universal despise of her and her practices throughout the legal community. Come on news, I realize your Democrat biased and want Joe to be re-elected, but this is just too much.
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