The Civil Division of the Sangamon County State’s Attorney’s Office provides legal counsel to the County and its elected officials. The State’s Attorney defends Sangamon County in court and represents local government agencies that enforce public health and zoning laws.
The Civil Division is responsible for pursuing civil forfeiture of property related to criminal activity. When the police seize money or other property that is used to facilitate crime, the State’s Attorney may bring a civil action to forfeit this property to the government. Examples of property that is subject to forfeiture include proceeds of drug trafficking or money laundering, as well as vehicles, firearms, and equipment used to commit crimes. The forfeited assets are used to help fund government services.
The Civil Division also has duties that impact criminal proceedings. Probation revocation, post-conviction petitions to overturn criminal convictions and requests for discharge from individuals who have been committed as not guilty by reason of insanity are handled by the Civil Division. These proceedings impact criminal matters but are conducted by law under civil rules of procedure.
To meet the increasing demands by county offices for legal assistance and comprehensive review of documents on Freedom of Information Act requests the State’s Attorney’s Office employs a Civil Division attorney whose only duties are to counsel county offices relating to Freedom of Information Act requests and review related documents. This is done to protect the privacy of county citizens as well as promptly respond to all requests as required by law.