McMahon to seek 2nd full term as top Kane prosecutor
Kane County State's Attorney Joe McMahon plans to run for his second, 4-year term in November 2016, saying he's made fighting violent crime a priority and holding defendants accountable for first-time or nonviolent offenses through a variety of diversion and treatment programs.
"I love my job. I would love to continue serving the people of Kane County in this capacity," said McMahon, a 49-year-old Republican from Elgin.
McMahon, who was first appointed as the county's top prosecutor in late 2010 after John Barsanti was named as a judge, announced his candidacy last week at a Geneva restaurant.
McMahon, who ran unopposed in 2012, said he's assigned his most experienced prosecutors to handle violent crimes, has dedicated prosecutors to handle mental health issues and crimes against the elderly, and supports various diversion programs.
For example, McMahon started a pretrial diversion program for first-time, nonviolent felony drug offenders three years ago. A recent study showed that 92 percent -- or 11 out of 12 -- of the people who completed Kane's pretrial diversion programs have not been arrested in at least three years.
"My highest priority is to focus on the violent crime and prosecute the people who pose a threat to our public safety and way of life," McMahon said. "Not everybody who comes into the (court) system is a bad person. Many of the people made bad choices and deserve a second chance."
McMahon noted that when he first served as an assistant state's attorney in Kane County in the 1990s, the mantra was to be tough on crime in the courtroom.
But, he noted, the role of a prosecutor has expanded to work with area police and community groups on awareness and prevention.
His office's anti-bullying presentations and expanded peer jury program are two examples of outreach.
"The role of a prosecutor has evolved over time and I hope I reflect that," he said. "I'm a believer in holding people accountable, but that doesn't always mean sending them to jail."
McMahon is the first person to enter the state's attorney race. If another person seeks the Republican nomination, a primary election will he held in spring 2016.