Union County state’s attorney issues annual report for 2016
Union County State’s Attorney Tyler R. Edmonds has released his office’s annual report for 2016.
Edmonds shared highlights of the report at last Friday morning’s regular meeting of the Union County Board of Commissioners.
The meeting was at the Union County Courthouse in Jonesboro.
Highlights of the report included:
•3,376 total cases were filed; 251 felonies were filed; 54 people were sentenced to prison.
•The state’s attorney’s office collected more than $300,000 in fines and fees from criminal defendants, including more than $37,000 in restitution to crime victims.
•The office provided services and assistance to more than 570 crime victims.
•Office expenditures were almost $13,000 under budget.
The report also includes a variety of information regarding case filings and outlines the structure, staffing and funding of the office.
The annual report may be accessed in PDF format on the Union County state’s attorney’s website at www.unioncountyil.gov/sa.
Edmonds wrote that publication of his office’s annual report “is an important means to promote transparency and accountability while also updating elected officials, law enforcement and social service agencies, and the citizens of Union County on efforts of the State’s Attorney’s Office during the past year.
“This Annual Report provides information regarding the structure, staffing, funding and expenditures of the State’s Attorney’s Office as well as a breakdown of cases filed, fines and restitution to crime victims.
“The services provided by the State’s Attorney’s Office are only possible because of a dedicated staff and the efforts of law enforcement and other agencies such as the Department of Children and Family Services and the Child Advocacy Center.
“I hope this Annual Report increases public awareness of the hard work of these individuals while also providing important information regarding the efforts of this office in 2016.
The report explained that the Union County state’s attorney’s office is responsible for prosecuting all violations of criminal law occurring within the county on behalf of the people of the State of Illinois.
Additionally, the office serves as legal counsel to Union County government, including the board of commissioners and other elected officials.
The state’s attorney’s office also prosecutes violations of Union County ordinances and represents the county in civil court proceedings.
The state’s attorney’s office consists of three full-time attorneys and three full-time legal assistants.
The office’s victim advocate unit provides services to crime victims. The unit consists of one full-time victim advocate and a part-time victim-witness coordinator.
The report explained that the “guiding principle for the Union County State’s Attorney’s Office is found in Illinois Supreme Court Rule 3.8:
“The duty of a public prosecutor...is to seek justice, not merely to convict. In each individual case, the office seeks to ensure that justice is served for all parties involved and for the People of the State of Illinois.”
Significant Office Accomplishments
The report highlighted the following significant accomplishments which were recorded by the state’s attorney’s office during 2016:
An Olive Branch man was sentenced to 20 years for the manufacture of child pornography.
A Union County man was sentenced to 10 years for sexual assault.
A Jonesboro man was sentenced to eight years for residential burglary.
A Grand Tower man was sentenced to 66 months for domestic battery.
A Thebes man was sentenced to five years for offering bribe to police officer.
An Anna man sentenced to five years for aggravated stalking.
A Dongola man was sentenced to 44 months for domestic battery.
The report explained that the state’s attorney’s office is responsible for prosecuting all crimes that occur within Union County and pursuing certain civil matters, including juvenile abuse and neglect cases and involuntary mental health commitments.
During 2016, 3,376 cases were opened with the following breakdown:
Criminal felony, 251. Criminal misdemeanor, 176. Conservation, 23. Driving under the influence, 57. Juvenile abuse/neglect, 32. Juvenile delinquent, 16. Ordinance violation, 17. Mental health, 103. Traffic, 2,701.
During 2016, the state’s attorney’s office filed 251 felony cases. That compared to 265 in 2015.
The report explained that beginning in 2009, the state’s attorney’s office undertook a concerted effort to reduce a backlog of open cases and to achieve dispositions in as timely a manner as possible.
Moving cases quickly and efficiently through the court system results in better outcomes at trial, protects the public from repeat offenders and provides certainty and closure for victims and the community,” the report stated.
During 2016, dispositions were achieved in 251 felony cases, a number again significantly higher than the pre-2009 average. A total of 283 dispositions were reported in 2015.
Department of Corrections Sentences
In certain felony matters, sentences to the Illinois Department of Corrections, IDOC, are necessary to protect the public.
In 2016, the state’s attorney’s office obtained convictions resulting in 54 IDOC sentences. In 2015, there were 58 sentences.
Fines and Restitution
During 2016, the state’s attorney’s office collected more than $300,000 in fines, forfeitures and other costs to criminal defendants. This amount included more than $37,000 in restitution to crime victims.
The amounts collected, by type of fine and judgment, include:
County criminal and juvenile, $101,013.35. Traffic (state police), $68,317.93. Traffic (sheriff), $40,773.77. Bond forfeiture, $8,335. Restitution, $37,828.38. Municipal traffic and conservation, $44,868.51. Total, $301,136.94.
Victim’s Advocate Unit
The state’s attorney’s office’s victim’s advocate unit provides a variety of services to crime victims to help lessen the trauma associated with victimization.
The unit consists of one victim’s advocate and one victim-witness coordinator providing a variety of services, including:
Assistance in seeking orders of protection. 24-hour crisis intervention. Orientation to court process and procedure.
Regular updates regarding case status and disposition. Personal, legal, and medical advocacy as well as emotional support.
Referrals to appropriate social service agencies. Assisting in applying for victim compensation through the Illinois attorney general’s office.
Enrollment in Illinois Automated Victim Notification System providing victims with automatic updates regarding case and custody status.
During 2016, the victim’s advocate unit provided services to 571 crime victims.
The state’s attorney’s office is responsible for legal representation of Union County, as well as the county’s elected officials.
The office provides a variety of services in fulfilling these obligations, including pursuing and defending civil litigation, negotiating collective bargaining agreements, real property transactions and contracts, and representing the county in grievance and administrative proceedings.
During Fiscal Year 2016, expenditures by the state’s attorney’s office were $12,955.61 under budget, with total expenditures of $433,824.39 and total budget of $446,780.