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Out Here

Dixon plays experience card; state's attorney foe takes offensive

The race for state's attorney probably will be the one that is most watched in Lee County in the November election.

Democratic incumbent Henry Dixon, 78, and Republican Anna Sacco-Miller, 45, are the candidates.

Sacco-Miller, who beat Andrew Bollman in March's Republican primary, had been publicly quiet about Dixon's performance until last week. She told a tea party audience that Dixon hadn't efficiently and effectively managed his caseload.

After the meeting, Sacco-Miller said in an interview that Dixon's most experienced prosecutors weren't necessarily handling the most serious cases. She also said he wasn't giving enough direction to his assistant state's attorneys. At times, she said, they have gone to her for questions on how to do things.

Sacco-Miller also said Dixon didn't seem to know the basic procedures of some hearings.

Dixon didn't respond to her comments.

The state's attorney is no delicate flower. He's a fighter, which he showed in the 2008 election when he
beat Republican incumbent Paul Whitcombe.

Promising to "restore maturity" to the office of state's attorney, Dixon pointed to the much younger Whitcombe's MySpace postings about Batman.

He also criticized Whitcombe's Strike Force and Ride-Along program. "Justice is not riding around at 3 a.m. with your buddies," Dixon said at a debate. "Not strapping your gun on and grabbing your camera and kicking down doors."

On his new website, Dixon compares himself to Sacco-Miller.

According to the site:

• Dixon has been given an A rating by the only recognized attorney rating service in the country. Sacco-Miller never has earned a rating.

• Dixon has tried 297 jury trials. His opponent has tried fewer than 25 jury trials, and in many of those, Dixon says, she was "second chair."

"Henry has experience to handle complex litigation," the site says. "Lee County has a number of pending complex and serious criminal and civil cases coming to trial that needs an experienced leader."

In an interview, Sacco-Miller said she would release her own numbers on jury trials soon. Asked about the national rating service, she said: "Who cares? We're in Dixon, Ill."

Sauk Valley Media reporter David Giuliani covers the Whiteside and Lee county governments, Morrison and other smaller communities. He can be reached at dgiuliani@saukvalley or at 800-798-4085, ext. 525.

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