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Letters to the Editor

‘Experience in law, community, life’

Why elect Pat Liston state’s attorney? Experience. Experience in the law, community and life.

As a child, I grew up in Ireland and the western suburbs of Chicago. I graduated from Fenwick High School in Oak Park in 1975. I graduated from Western Illinois University in 1979 with a degree in law enforcement administration.

I got married a year after college. Thirty-one years later, I am still married. I took a job as an insurance adjuster. Working full time, I put myself through law school and graduated from the John Marshall Law School in 1985.

In the meantime, I was made a claims supervisor where I was responsible for the hiring, firing, training and supervision of five claims handlers, including two attorneys.

After law school, I joined an insurance defense law firm. In 1988, I joined a law firm in Rock Falls, where I was in general litigation practice, handling cases ranging from personal injury, workers compensation and divorce to criminal defense.

In 2007, I joined the Whiteside County State’s Attorney’s office, fulfilling a desire to become involved in law enforcement. Since then, I have handled hundreds of felony cases and have acted as counsel and adviser to the county board as well as county officers.

I have tried 10 cases before a jury, including a murder trial. Over my career, I have tried about 20 cases before juries in various counties in Illinois and one in the federal court for the Northern District of Illinois. Including bench trials, I have tried hundreds of cases.

Successful trial experience is important in a state’s attorney, as it shows an ability to recognize the facts, evidence and legal theories that have to be developed to win a trial.

Jury trial experience is important in a state’s attorney, as many of the major felony trials are tried in front of juries. Jury trial success is important, as it shows an ability to relate to and persuade a jury. It is also necessary to supervise other attorneys in the office who may be trying cases before a jury. 

I have handled a dozen appeals and argued before the Appellate Court of Illinois. Appellate experience is important because it shows an ability to recognize legal issues, research legal issues, write briefs, and argue before a panel of judges.

As counsel for the county board and county officers, the state’s attorney must research many issues that arise and, from time to time, issue written opinions.

Having raised three children in Whiteside County with my wife of 31 years, Vicki, I am familiar with issues faced by young people here. Since moving to Whiteside County, I have been involved in the community, making me familiar with issues faced by our community.

I have been a member and president of the Sterling-Rock Falls Jaycees. I have been a member of the Sterling Optimist Club. I am active at Sacred Heart Church in Sterling and have coached baseball for the Sterling Park District.

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