Can a defense attorney transition to McHenry County state's attorney?

  • Democrat Ray Flavin, left, and Republican Patrick Kenneally are candidates for McHenry County state's attorney.

    Democrat Ray Flavin, left, and Republican Patrick Kenneally are candidates for McHenry County state's attorney.

Updated 10/17/2016 4:51 PM

For years, Ray Flavin has represented people accused of crimes -- critiquing police reports, objecting to prosecutors' moves in court, and trying to get the best deal possible instead of heading to trial as a last resort.

Flavin is running as a Democrat for the office of McHenry County state's attorney in the Nov. 8 election against Patrick Kenneally, a Republican with nine years if experience in the state's attorney's office.


Can Flavin transition to the role of the county's top prosecutor? He believes so.

Flavin said defense attorneys must ensure their clients' rights are upheld, evidence protocols are followed and the state meets its burden of proving a case beyond a reasonable doubt.

Prosecutors also must follow due process for defendants and obey rules of pretrial discovery, sharing information with the opposing attorney whether it helps or hurts the state's case, he said.

"As a criminal defense attorney, you're trying to make sure the law is followed, that justice is done," Flavin said. "As a state's attorney, you have to do the same thing."

Kenneally says working in every capacity at the state's attorney's office -- civil and criminal divisions included -- has prepared him to serve as the county's top law enforcement officer and to succeed Lou Bianchi, who is not seeking re-election.

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"I learned that I love the job," he said. "The singular job of a prosecutor is to pursue ultimate justice in the case."

Kenneally recently was named first assistant state's attorney -- basically Bianchi's second-in-command.

Early voting runs through Oct. 21 at the county clerk's office and at various locations from Oct. 24 to Nov. 7.

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