EDWARDSVILLE — The Madison County State’s Attorney’s Office prosecuted a record number of felony cases to conclusion in 2022, according to the Annual Report released Monday by State’s Attorney Thomas A. Haine.
The report also highlights a significant reduction in vehicle thefts in Madison County. The State’s Attorney’s Office prosecuted 4,451 cases to conclusion in 2022, topping the previous high mark of 4,320 cases resolved in 2021.
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“I could not be more proud of our fantastic team at the State’s Attorney’s Office,” Haine said. “One of our primary goals for the year was to reduce a case backlog that developed during Covid’s restrictions on the court. This achievement is a testament to the hard work of our prosecutors and staff, and to our collaboration with judges, police agencies and all the other entities involved in our criminal justice system in Madison County.” As a result of that effort, the number of open felony cases at the end of 2022 stood at 4,749. That is a year-to-year decrease of nearly 1,000 open felony cases.
There were 5,694 open felony cases at the end of 2021. The report notes that resolving cases in a timely manner is of paramount importance in the criminal justice system, because for the victims of crime, justice delayed is justice denied. In addition, if cases languish, they become more difficult to successfully prosecute. The memories of witnesses can fade, and some witnesses or parties to a case can become impossible to locate, or possibly even pass away. Another highlight from the report was that vehicle thefts in Madison County dropped 12.1% in 2022, and have dropped 23.7% since 2020.
The number of vehicle thefts reported in Madison County fell to 486 in 2022, the lowest number since 2018. There were 553 vehicle thefts reported in 2021. Vehicle thefts peaked in 2020, when 637 were reported in the county. This downward trend is reflected in the number of charges filed by Haine’s office in relation to vehicle thefts: a record high of 255 in 2021, then a decrease to 191 in 2022.
“Vehicle thefts have plagued our region and are a growing concern across the country, but I’m happy to report that we seem to be bucking that trend,” Haine said. “My hope is that a message is being sent: That police and prosecutors in Madison County take car thefts seriously. We will continue to keep the pressure on criminals and reduce crime wherever we can.”
The report is hopeful that the creation of the Cross-River Crime Task Force and increased implementation of Automated License Plate Readers have contributed to the reduction in car thefts.
Other highlights from the 2022 report include:
• Murder convictions for defendants in two separate cases involving deaths of police officers. One defendant received a life sentence in connection with the death of Pontoon Beach Police Officer Tyler Timmins. The other defendant received a sentence of life in prison, plus 13 years, for the death of Brooklyn Officer Brian Pierce Jr.
• Three separate lawsuits filed against the Governor’s office. The suits involved: the SAFE-T Act, a months-long backlog of County Jail inmates awaiting transfer to state facilities after being declared unfit to stand trial, and the political gerrymandering of Madison County’s judiciary into geographic sub-circuits.
• The county’s $3.7 million share of a settlement in a lawsuit against opioid distributors.
“It is an honor to serve as State’s Attorney, and work with so many incredible professionals every day. These are public servants, dedicated to fighting for victims and supporting the rule of law. I’m grateful that the Madison County Board, and the citizens of Madison County, view public safety a top priority, and support the efforts of this office. My pledge is that the State’s Attorney’s Office will continue to work hard to earn their confidence and support as we fight for a safer community for everyone in the years ahead,” Haine said.
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