Winnebago County State’s Attorney gives 2022 year in review
As law enforcement worked to catch violent criminals on the streets in 2022, J. Hanley says his office thrived in proving them guilty.
ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - Between case backlogs from the pandemic, along with a courthouse fire last fall, Winnebago County State’s Attorney J. Hanley says as his office worked to bring violent offenders to trial in 2022, they juggled many trials of their own.
“To summarize our 2022, I would say it was an extremely challenging time for our office,” said Hanley. “We’ve had staffing shortages which puts a tremendous amount of pressure on the employees here working.” But despite all challenges, Hanley says his office not only survived, but thrived.
“I’m fulfilling the promises that I made to the community, and following through on the priorities that I set,” said Hanley. The key promise was to crack down on the prosecution of the county’s most violent criminals. Hanley says new data shows they did just that.
“With respect to 2022, we didn’t lose a (murder) jury trial,” said Hanley. “In 2021 we didn’t lose a murder jury trial.”
Hanley says when pairing both bench and jury murder trials together, the county reached a 72% overall success rate. “It shows we’re doing a really good job for the most important cases, and it’s also a testament to the skill of our trial attorneys,” said Hanley.
However, Hanley claims those numbers make up just a sliver of the successes his office has seen since 2021. He also points to the launch of Gun Court, and credits his fellow colleagues work in bridging the gap between federal and state courts, allowing jurors to hand lengthy sentences to the most serious offenders with respect to gun-related crimes. “Without the positive efforts to implement that, it wouldn’t have happened,” said Hanley.
Additionally, Hanley says the county worked to aggressively prosecute child sex abuse and pornography cases, with an above average case acceptance rate and conviction rate of 95%.
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