Endorsement: Spence for Kane County state's attorney
Kane County voters will choose between two experienced, intelligent and eminently qualified candidates when they pick a replacement for longtime State's Attorney Joe McMahon as the county's chief law enforcement official.
The race matches retired judge Robert Spence, a Republican from Batavia, against former prosecutor Jamie Mosser, a Democrat from St. Charles now in private practice.
We find both candidates impressive, but they couldn't offer much more different approaches to the role of top prosecutor. While those sharp contrasts may make this an easy decision for some voters, for us it makes for a difficult choice.
Mosser suggests a highly progressive approach to dealing with crime. She would create a pre-arrest diversion program for low-level offenses; a restorative justice program that, in some instances, would arrange meetings between victim and perpetrator as part of the legal proceedings; and the creation of a citizen review panel to examine cases of possible police misconduct.
Spence offers a more traditional approach. Among his priorities would be seeking prison sentences in all cases of those who possess firearms illegally; expanding the existing diversion programs, like drug and mental health courts; and improving services for crime victims.
Both make credible cases for their proposals and candidacies, but what separates the two for us is Spence's broad range of experience across the judicial system. He prosecuted hundreds of cases, including 17 homicides, during his 20 years as an assistant state's attorney and assistant Illinois attorney general, served 18 years as a county judge, and seven years as an appellate court judge, drafting dozens of opinions across the legal spectrum.
We endorse Spence, but also hope he would consider some of Mosser's proposals if elected.