Democratic hopefuls for Kane County state's attorney differ over personally trying cases
Two candidates seeking the Democratic nomination for Kane County state's attorney differ on whether the state's attorney should personally prosecute select criminal cases.
Junaid "J" Afeef, of Elgin, said trying cases is "fun" but the challenge is not to be in the courtroom all the time, while Jamie Mosser, of St. Charles, said she would personally prosecute certain cases.
The winner of the March 17 primary will face Robert Spence, a Batavia Republican, in the Nov. 3 general election.
Joe McMahon, who was appointed state's attorney a decade ago, is not seeking a third full, 4-year term.
"Having been a prosecutor, there's no way I'm not going to be in that office, stand up before a judge or jury and say 'I'm here for the people of the state of Illinois," said Mosser, who worked as a Kane County assistant state's attorney for 10 years before going into private practice.
"So I will have to manage that office, but I will take a number of cases each year to continue to be the prosecutor I've always been."
Afeef, whose legal career spans 25 years and currently prosecutes nursing home violations for the state's health department, said the state's attorney must be a leader who can manage the office, its budget and policies and hire the right supervisors to oversee lawyers at trial.
"It's a little bit of working for your ego to want to be in that courtroom," Afeef said, adding its fine for a state's attorney in a small county to personally prosecute cases. But in a county the size of Kane, Afeef said, "you don't want that (state's) attorney to actively go to court because that's a waste of resources."
During his 10 years in office, McMahon has made token court appearances on larger cases. He was tapped to serve as a special prosecutor in the case of former Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke, who was convicted in 2018 of second-degree murder in the October 2014 shooting of Laquan McDonald, 17, in Chicago.
Van Dyke was sentenced to nearly seven years in prison.
John Barsanti, who was McMahon's predecessor and now serves as a Kane County judge, prosecuted some cases during his tenure and used closing arguments as a chance to teach his younger lawyers.
Early voting has begun at select locations and runs until March 16.