A historic primary election is just one week away in Boone County, as two women battle for the Republican nomination for State’s Attorney for the first time.
Attorney Tricia Smith will take on incumbent Michelle Courier next Tuesday. There’s no doubt the race has captured the attention of residents. A crowd of voters surrounded the two women recently at a meet-and-greet forum.
Both women were born and raised in the area and both graduated from Belvidere High School. Both also vow to be tough on criminals.
“If re-elected, I’d like to continue our ‘tough on crime’ reputation,” said Courier. “That’s the number one thing in any State’s Attorney’s office, our number one goal.”
“I will be out there,” said Smith. “[I’ll earn] my salary, that is paid for by the taxpayers, and doing my best to use the limited resources that we have in order to do justice for the citizens of Boone County.”
Courier and Smith’s anti-crime strategies are very different. Courier says she’ll continue to go after gangs aggressively, touting her successful 2009 lawsuit against 30 Latin Kings.
“I’ve focused on gangs because without gangs, drugs don’t exist. And without drugs, gangs don’t exist,” she says.
The two-term incumbent also says she wants to expand the use of bracelets used on DUI offenders to detect alcohol through perspiration. “The SCRAM bracelet also has a GPS device and has the ability to have home confinement. So, that’s another area that I’d like to expand on.”
Smith, who has experience as an both an Assistant Boone County State’s Attorney and in private practice, says her focus would be to expedite trials. “That is a burden not only on the victims of crime and witnesses, but also on the taxpayers as people if they have to remain in custody to wait for their trial.”
Smith also says that while crime in Boone County has dropped under Courier, so has the jury trial success rate, something she wants to change. “Right now, the felony jury success rate is about 63%. Under previous administrations, its been about 82% – 84%.”
Both candidates have big names showing support for them. Mayor Mike Chamberlain, former Mayor Fred Brereton, and Belvidere Police Chief Jan Noble all favor Courier. On the other side, former Sheriff Duane Wirth, former State’s Attorney John Maville, and Rep. John Cabello all support Smith.
No democrat is running for the position.