Mike Nerheim: Putting Victims First

Mike Nerheim is a candidate for Lake County State's Attorney. He is running to ensure that justice is served and that respect and pride is restored to the office.

It takes time to properly investigate and prosecute crimes. And too often as the process goes on, it is the victims who feel ignored, neglected and forgotten.

As State’s Attorney I will strive to put victims first to ensure they are included and actively involved in building the case, and that they are aware of developments and advised of their rights in properly seeing cases through to the end and feeling that the punishment as much as possible, fits the crime and serves justice.

Under my leadership, putting victim’s first means that when we prosecute the case, the victims will be ready and engaged.  We will make it a priority to do what we can to prevent them from from feeling disconnected, or that the criminal justice system with its inherent delays, has somehow failed them.

Every citizen has the right to fair trial and every victim has the right to see justice served.  We simply can’t have one without the other.

I'd like to share a victims's story provides an example of what I consider the importance of Putting Victims First.

Lori Wallach reached out to the campaign to share her story after she first noticed Mike Nerheim for Lake County State’s Attorney signs around Lake County during the primary. She is an Independent, has never before endorsed a candidate, but felt compelled to share her unique perspective. 

Lori was among those injured in a school carpool line crash caused by a drunk driver in Mundelein more than a dozen years ago. She says if not for the hard work and determination of Mike Nerheim–then a young prosecutor–the case never would have gone to trial, and the victims would never have had the chance to confront the defendant.

See Lori's Story on Video

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Katherine October 04, 2012 at 06:37 PM
MIke: One story does not a commitment make. You were a prosecutor and it was your job to assist the victim to receive her rights. I am sure that Chris Kennedy has done the same.Chris Kennedy could add many cases too. Mr. Kennedy has been active in passing laws to assist the disabled in Illinois. He has a clear commitment to the under served and those who are victimized. I can respect that you are pointing out what is clearly a prosecutors job. Also, how does Ms. Wallach know that without you another prosecuter would not have done the same thing? Did you do something extraordinary for her? I was a victum of an assult. The young prosecutor and victum advocate in Lake County kept me notified at every step. I don't remember his name, but he too did his job. Finding the guilty person and prosecuting them should be the most important thing. Victims want the person who wronged them to have Justice. By concivting the right person, not only is the original victim protected, but those who are further victimized while they are loose are not protected.
Lori Wallach October 09, 2012 at 03:07 AM
Ms. Oetker asks a fair question: how do I know another prosecutor wouldn't have done the same thing Mike Nerheim did for me and the other 13 victims of the drunk driving crash? I was present from the 1st criminal court date through the last, spanning a period of 16 months. For our first three court dates, we had three different assistant state's attorneys handling the case. Mike Nerheim was the third. When yet a fourth assistant state's attorney's first day would be our pre-trial date, I called Mike and asked for his help in adopting our case and not letting it fall through the cracks. Mike knew the case; he agreed it was a set of special circumstances. He understood our positions as victims, especially having ten middle school students involved. He went to bat for us within the State's Attorney's office, requesting he remain with the case until its end at trial. He had been in traffic for one month at that point. His unusual request was granted which spoke to his getting across his conviction to his superiors. Despite pressure from the host of defense attorneys, he held firm in the 'no plea bargain' stance the victims had hoped for. When the first two state's attorneys were approached by the victims in those first months, it was business as usual--just going through the procedures. Same thing with dozens of other cases I witnessed. When the arresting officer told me he'd never seen a judge ask for victim statements at a trial, I knew--it was thanks to Mike Nerheim.


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