AG Ellison visits Mankato, calls for more prosecutors
MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) — Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison is asking the state Legislature for $1.8 million to fund seven more full-time prosecutors and two legal assistants to provide help in county attorney’s offices statewide.
In the Attorney General’s Office Criminal Division there are currently three full-time prosecutors, up from one when Ellison took office. When counties can’t handle a case, they need state resources to prosecute, especially in Greater Minnesota.
“We do a lot of them. We have done 39, but we are supposed to be the prosecutor’s last resort in the state of Minnesota, and we would be if we got the resources to do so,” Ellison said.
According to Ellison’s office, more than half of all county attorney offices in Minnesota have three attorneys or fewer.
Blue Earth County Attorney Pat McDermott says his office is working on 10 homicide cases right now.
“Studies will show you the average homicide case takes two attorneys at least 200 hours. If you get those major cases, we have 10 open homicide cases in our office right now. Those are major time sucks,” McDermott said.
For the attorneys, they say the problem is simple.
“It’s a resource issue that should be there, that was there in the past, and its shown to be needed, and its shown to be effective,” McDermott added.
Mankato Mayor Najwa Massad also took part in Wednesday’s press conference, highlighting the need for mental health resources, like the importance of crisis teams.
”We need to think of our citizens and their safety. Having them feel comfortable here, in greater Mankato, Mankato and the region,” Massad said.
Ellison says he’s tried for three years to get this measure passed and he says with the state’s budget surplus of $9 billion, now is the time.
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