It's been about a year since Joe McMahon was appointed Kane County State's Attorney, filling the vacancy left when John Barsanti became a judge.
McMahon said Tuesday he is happy with what has been accomplished since then, including establishing an elder-fatality review team, instituting internal mentoring of assistant state's attorneys, and revving up training for those lawyers.
"I am very pleased with the way the assistant state's attorneys and all the staff have worked to make this what I think was a successful year," McMahon said.
One thing he believes is working well is the decision to "vertically prosecute" cases involving abuse of the elderly and children. "I said it would be a priority," McMahon said. Now, an ASA stays with the case from the decision to bring charges through resolution. That way, victims and witnesses only have to deal with one prosecutor, he said.
One area that needs to improve, McMahon said, is the length of time it takes to try some cases. The docket is full of cases charged in 2008. "When cases drag out that is not fair for the victim. It is not fair for the community. The community wants resolution," he said.
Looking for efficiencies, however, is hampered by the current case management computer software, McMahon said.
It doesn't allow him to calculate how long particular ASAs are taking to prosecute similar cases; doing so would enable him to see who is moving things along, and perhaps study how they do so, he said. Analysis features would also help him determine how to allocate resources, he said. For example, if drug addiction is a contributing factor in a substantial number of criminal cases, the office might focus on getting offenders to treatment.
McMahon also wants a new system that will cut down on the number of times a defendant's information needs to be entered by police, court clerks and his employees.
The county board is considering requests to buy a new court records system, at the request of the circuit court clerk.
McMahon filed last week for election to the post. He is unopposed in the Republican primary, and nobody filed in the Democratic primary.