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Felony Trial Court Division

The three major divisions of the State Attorney’s Office are Felony, Juvenile and County Court. Crimes prosecuted by the Felony Trial Division range from burglaries to attempted first-degree murders, and kidnapping to armed robberies. Key targets for prosecution are crimes involving guns and other violent crimes, crimes against children and crimes of a sexual nature.

There are six felony court judges in the 15th Judicial Circuit, each associated with four prosecutor positions. The lead attorney is responsible for approximately 120 cases, the others approximately 200.

The judges generally can conduct at most three trials a week of the thousand cases in each division. Murder cases, for example, take weeks.

Felony prosecutors consistently seek sentencing that takes such people off the street and assigns them to the Department of Corrections for years, if not life.

Because there are other people whom society would like to prevent from becoming violent criminals, the State Attorney’s Office also considers it a responsibility to the public to help prevent crime.

That may manifest in plea offers requiring mental health treatment for those who need it. Or rehabilitation before nonviolent drug offenders become burglars because they are running out of money.

At times prosecutors also work with police officers to further investigate cases. As each learns from the other it becomes mutually beneficial, and even more so for the public.

Going to court may appear to be the bulk of the prosecutor’s job. But there is much more going on.

For example, despite the county having one of the best forensic science labs in the country, the speed of cases is nothing like on television where DNA results come back over lunch. Unlike in DNA testing where the answer is yes or no, the prosecutor’s subjective work requires common sense, principle, discernment and creativity.

Each case is different, the ultimate objective: to protect the public’s safety.