Winnebago County
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Criminal Bureau


Marilyn Hite Ross is the Chief of the Criminal Bureau

F. James Brun, Deputy State's Attorney Criminal Bureau
Mike Rock, Deputy State's Attorney Criminal Bureau
Lise Lombardo, Assistant Deputy State's Attorney Criminal Bureau
Pamela Wells, Assistant Deputy State's Attorney Criminal Bureau
Jennifer Clifford, Assistant Deputy State's Attorney Criminal Bureau

The Criminal Bureau of the Winnebago County State's Attorney's Office includes the Intake & Screening process as well as Felony and Misdemeanor prosecution including Domestic Violence, Driving Under the Influence, Crimes Against Children, Narcotics, Traffic Offenses, Juvenile and Financial Crime.

Intake & Screening Process

The intake and screening process is the gateway through which criminal cases come into the State's Attorneys Office.  Every potential criminal incident is reviewed through the intake and screening process to determine what charges, if any, should be prosecuted. 
 
It is at this juncture that the underlying mission of the office "to do justice" is first applied.  It is the goal of the intake and screening reviewers to make effective and efficient charging decisions that are in the best interests of the community, including the victim and the defendant.
 
Incidents involving arrests are reviewed early each morning as soon after the arrest as possible.  Other incidents are reviewed daily to determine whether charges should be filed and arrest warrants issued.
 
Assistant State's Attorneys who specialize in Domestic Violence or Driving Under the Influence are generally involved in reviewing those types of incidents.
 
Not all incidents result in criminal charges.  Sometimes, it might be determined that the best interests of the community are served by not prosecuting an otherwise legitimate arrest because the justice has been served by the arrest alone.

Community Outreach Efforts

The goal of the Winnebago County State's Attorney Community Outreach efforts is to interact with residents by developing proactive partnerships with community organizations, government agencies, service providers, schools and religious institutions.  This is done to address issues of concern, disseminate information and enhance the quality of life through outreach efforts for all citizens of Winnebago County in a timely, courteous and professional manner.  We participate in community events and provide speakers to organizations and schools within the community.  If any organization would like a speaker from the Office of the State's Attorney to address issues or provide education please call (815) 319-4700

Domestic Violence

Stopping the cycle of domestic violence is a major priority of the State's Attorney's Office.  The office does this by diligently prosecuting domestic violence crimes and helping victims with care and compassion.  The State's Attorney's Office pledges to treat all domestic violence victims with the dignity and understanding they deserve.  We will file criminal charges whenever there is legally sufficient evidence of a domestic violence crime and hope that all victims cooperate with our efforts.  However, because the People of the State of Illinois, has an interest in prosecuting the safety of domestic violence victims and holding perpetrators accountable for their crimes, the State's Attorney's Office will proceed with domestic violence prosecutions with or without the victim's cooperation, when it is in the best interest of the community.

Victim/Witness Service Providers

The Victim Service Providers of the State's Attorney's Office are available to provide assistance to those persons victimized by defendants through criminal acts.  They will appear in court with the victim and help them to understand the criminal justice system.  Victim Service Providers act as contact resources, to help direct the victims to counseling services, victim's compensation programs, or other aspects of the justice system.  Victim Service Providers also regularly meet with victims, inform them of any developments in the case and act as a liaison between the attorney and the victim. 

A Homicide Survivor Support group meets monthly.  If you are interested or have any questions about this group, please contact Barb Stone at 815-319-4700 or bstone@wincoil.us

Felony

Crimes Against Children

Crimes of child sexual abuse are among the most devastating of offenses.  Through their criminal acts, child sexual abuse offenders can inflict severe physical, emotional and psychological trauma on their victims.  The effects can be long-lasting and the healing process can be an arduous one.

The State's Attorney's Office understands this and vigorously seeks justice for victims of child sexual abuse.  There are specially trained Attorney's dedicated solely to the prosecution of child sex abuse cases.  This means that one specialized attorney who understands the psychological impact of sexual crimes handles the case from beginning to end. 

Because many sexual assailants are repeat offenders, it is important that victims report sexual abuse to their local police.  By reporting crimes, victims help bring an attacker to justice and prevent further offenses.

Narcotics

These cases most commonly include possession and possession with intent to deliver cannabis, cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, and ecstasy.  They work cooperatively with regional drug task forces and prosecute offenders in a vertical manner, from investigation through final determination.

Drug abuse damages all sectors of society.  Drugs destroy individual lives, break families apart, and are very often the motivating factor behind crimes.  To combat the drug problem, the State's Attorney's Office pursues strategies beyond mere prosecution.  The Office participates in Drug Court, an effective diversion program for drug abusers.  When cases are not appropriate for Drug Court, the State's Attorney's Office effectively prosecutes drug law offenders. 

Financial Crimes

Financial crimes such as identity theft and forgery are an ever increasing concern for citizens in our community.  As such, the Winnebago County State's Attorney's Office has assigned a specialized prosecutor to handle these cases.  This prosecutor is trained on how to deal with the unique aspects of financial crimes.

Each year, identity theft - one of the fastest growing crimes in the nation - harms thousands of consumers throughout Winnebago County.  Ultimately, the identity thief aims to obtain personal information about you: your Social Security number, birth name, credit card numbers, or birth date.  With this information, the identity thief can assume your identity and establish bank accounts or credit in your name, leaving you to deal with the fallout.  Identity thieves also can pose as you in the commission of a crime, perhaps leaving you with a false criminal record.

The State's Attorney's Office is committed to protecting the community from identity theft and prosecuting those responsible for this crime.  As with all types of fraud, however, the most effective protection is a consumer's own awareness and vigilance.

Juvenile

The juvenile courts are divided into two separate courtrooms, "delinquency" and "abuse & neglect".  The delinquency courtroom is focused on youth that commit criminal offenses.  The goal is to restore the delinquent minor to an appropriate place in the community with services when possible as well as restoring the victim to as complete a state as before the crime as possible.  The State's Attorney's Office works with the probation department to determine what services are appropriate.

The abuse and neglect courtroom is focused on children that are abused, neglected or dependent.  The goal in abuse and neglect court is to reunify children with their parents when possible with appropriate services and when not possible to find alternative homes for the children.  The State's Attorney's Office works with the Department of Children and Family Services and its contracting agencies to ensure that necessary services are provided.

Therapeutic Intervention Program

The Therapeutic Intervention Program (TIP) or Mental Health Court was developed through the collaboration of the Mental Health Task Force.  TIP was developed to reduce the number of arrests of people with mental illness, increase access to mental health treatment, reduce the number of days of incarceration in the jail for people with mental illness, provide for safe and supervised community alternatives to incarceration, and reduce recidivism.

TIP provides a continuum of care with providing intensive and specialized training to law enforcement, deflecting people into treatment, and reducing the number of arrests.  The TIP Court has established assessment and treatment planning for individuals with mental illness who are arrested and link them to treatment.  The TIP Court attempts to reduce the number of days individuals with mental illness are incarcerated and this reduces the risk within the Winnebago County Jail.

The TIP Court targets individuals with serious mental illness who have committed misdemeanors or low level felonies.  The defendant must have been diagnosed with a serious mental illness and that mental illness must have some causal connection with the commission of the crime.  The defendant must also be willing to cooperate with the court and follow all rules of the program.  Referrals for this program are to be made to the TIP Coordinator, Winnebago County Courthouse, Suite 345, Rockford, Illinois  61101, 815-319-4805, or fax to 815-319-4801.

The Winnebago County State's Attorney's Office is committed to the establishment of and participation in the Therapeutic Intervention Program.  The State's Attorney's Office collaborates with other members of the Therapeutic Intervention Program team to see that those defendants with serious mental illnesses have the opportunity to receive appropriate treatment and dispositions of their cases.  The State's Attorney's Office keeps in mind the safety and best interests of the community, as well as the best interests of the defendant, when trying to reach a resolution of a case.  The State's Attorney's Office will also retain the discretion to proceed with the prosecution of a case.

If you have any questions about this program, please contact Patrick Bruce, 815-319-4700.

Winnebago County
404 Elm Street
Rockford, IL 61101
OFC: (815) 319-4444
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