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Prosecutor: Jury trials on rise in Kendall

Kendall County State's Attorney Eric Weis.

Kendall County State's Attorney Eric Weis.

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Kendall prosecutor’s report

The 2012 report from Kendall County State’s Attorney Eric Weis shows:

Total cases filed

2012 — 14,402

2011 – 14,651

Felony cases filed

2012 — 414

2011 — 429

Jury trials

2012 — 41

2011 — 14

Updated: February 19, 2013 3:06PM

YORKVILLE — Kendall County prosecutors handled three times as many jury trials in 2012 as they did in 2011, even though the number of more serious cases the office handled remained steady — and the overall number of cases actually dropped.

The 2012 report from State’s Attorney Eric Weis shows there were 14,402 total cases filed in the year, down slightly from the 14,651 filed in 2011.

Of those cases, 414 were felonies, compared to 429 felonies in 2011. Both numbers are down significantly from three years ago, when 22,020 total cases were filed in 2009, 515 of them felonies.

Weis this week told the County Board the big difference in the numbers through over the past several years has been a reduction in traffic cases. In 2009, there were 19,269 traffic cases filed, compared to 12,190 in 2012.

That is because of municipalities in the county charging and adjudicating traffic cases under their own ordinances, instead of the state’s, Weis said.

In total, Weis’ budget was about 4 percent under for the year.

But Weis pointed out that his Jury Commission budget was up. During 2012, the state’s attorney’s office tried 41 trials before a jury, compared to only 14 jury trials in 2011. The office also tried more than 100 cases before a judge.

“So we were very busy last year,” he said.

One area where the office saved money was in dealing with collective bargaining matters and employment issues for the county.

Weis dedicated one of his eight assistant state’s attorneys to labor matters, instead of contracting with outside counsel. That not only saved the county $120,000, it allowed for quicker response time between Weis’ office and elected officials and department heads.

Weis told the board that the shifting of Kendall County out of the 16th Judicial Circuit into the new 23rd Circuit with DeKalb County caused “very little cost” to his office.

“We shifted a few things around, but really it’s mostly been just crossing off 16th Circuit on letterheads and writing in 23rd Circuit,” he said.

Kendall County Circuit Clerk Becky Morganegg also gave her 2012 report to the board. Her numbers showed foreclosures filed in 2012 at 1,507, up from the 1,372 filed in 2011 but down from the 1,827 filed in 2010.

It also showed an uptick in eminent domain filings to 41 in 2012, up from 34 in 2011 and only five in 2010.

But she had an explanation for that — land purchases for the Route 47 widening project.

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