McMahon looks ahead to 2nd full term as top Kane prosecutor

  • Joe McMahon last week won another term as Kane County state's attorney.

    Joe McMahon last week won another term as Kane County state's attorney.

Updated 11/15/2016 4:28 PM

Kane County State's Attorney Joe McMahon said Tuesday his second full term will include establishing a Conviction Integrity Unit to examine cases where new evidence arises after appeals have been exhausted, and expanding Crisis Intervention Training for officers.

McMahon, an Elgin Republican, was unopposed in last week's election and won his second, four-year term.


During his tenure, McMahon, a former prosecutor who was appointed state's attorney in late 2010, has emphasized aggressive handling of career criminals and cases involving violent crime but has expanded pretrial diversion programs for first-time offenders.

"We've done great work here over the last six years. My focus will continue to be on the best interests of this county," McMahon said during his monthly meeting with media members. "Not everyone who comes into the system is a bad person. Many, many people who come into the system are good people who made a bad decision."

McMahon's office has pushed for funding for 130 sheriff's deputies and Aurora and Elgin police officers to undergo Crisis Intervention Training next year. He says increased training can help officers de-escalate situations and lead to better outcomes for arrestees and fewer resources spent on incarceration.

Another goal for McMahon in the coming year is to launch his office's Conviction Integrity Unit. It will review cases where a conviction has been entered, all appeals exhausted but new evidence is found or witnesses come forward.

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McMahon said these types of units are common across the country and Cook and Lake counties already have similar units.

McMahon hopes to staff the unit with at least one full-time lawyer with the goal being two attorneys, an investigator and one support staff member.

He said, ideally, the attorney will not be involved in the initial case and review all the evidence -- reports, transcripts, exhibits, etc.

"I need a new, fresh set of eyes of people who have significant experience at all levels of criminal prosecution," he said, noting his office has 36 cases to review. "They will have a full caseload on Day 1. It is absolutely a proactive approach."

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