EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – According to the FBI Madison County had around 781 incidents of violence including six murders last year. State’s Attorney Tom Haine says he sees a disturbing trend.
Republican Tom Haine was elected to the job as Madison County’s States Attorney, the top prosecutor in 2020, and follows in his father’s footsteps. Bill Haine served as States Attorney for 14 years, starting in 1988.
Tom Haine graduated from Princeton University and served as a captain in the US Army.
He can best be described as a law and order prosecutor who believes low-level offenders deserve a second chance. He says that violent crime is one of the community’s biggest challenges.
“We’ve seen an increase in the percentage of our violent crime that’s coming across the river. Since 2016 the percentage of Madison County homicides that have Missouri defendants, those are the ones that are charged, has increased by 150 percent. This is the first year that more than 50 percent of our charged homicides have Missouri defendants,” said Haine.
Madison County has set up a law enforcement task force with county and local law enforcement to crack down on cross-border crime.
The states attorney’s office has a special team of prosecutors who do nothing but prosecute violent crimes.
“To send a message that, ‘Hey when you enter Madison County you are going to encounter proactive law enforcement.’ We’ve had dozens of felony charges that have come out of this,” said Haine. “Since I took office we have about 3,000 felonies that I’ve prosecuted. Law enforcement agencies that I speak to approve of that they want the felonies that they bring to our office.”
Haine does say the covid crisis where the courts were shut down has been a huge challenge. With accused offenders jailed longer than usual before coming to trial, and crime victims waiting longer for justice.
“We have individuals that have been waiting in the Madison County jail for years,” said Haine. “We’re looking forward and we’re making do with this difficult situation that’s been presented to us by COVID. We’re not going to relitigate the past it doesn’t solve any problems.”
Tom Haine says the Madison County Board will likely need to allocate more funding to his office to cut thru the backlog of cases.