Kane County State’s Attorney Jamie Mosser recently honored seven employees for their work in 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic made criminal justice efforts so challenging.
In addition to the longstanding awards of Prosecutor of the Year, Employee of the Year, Felony Ace of Spades and Misdemeanor Ace of Spades, Mosser added three awards:
- The Lifetime Achievement Award
- The Debra Bree Voice for Victims Award
- The Most Hearings Award
“Not every elected official was lucky enough to take over an office already staffed by dedicated employees as I was,” Mosser said. “I had the good fortune to work with many of them when I was an assistant state’s attorney.
“I am proud of everyone who excelled during a very trying year in which the level of difficulty increased dramatically because of the pandemic. In an office of stellar employees, these award winners stood out as extraordinary. I am truly grateful for the work that they did and am happy to have been able to recognize them.”
And the winners are …
Lifetime Achievement Award, Pursuit of Justice
“Throughout her nearly 24 years as a Kane County assistant state’s attorney, Christine Bayer has always embodied the broader mission of the office, making Kane County better for everyone who lives, works and plays here,: Mosser said. “Christine has handled a variety of difficult cases, from trafficking to sexual assault to first-degree murder.”
Mosser said Bayer made her mark a few years ago, prosecuting a number of child sex trafficking cases with prosecutions that withstood the scrutiny of the higher courts.
Prosecutor of the Year
“Erin Brady worked tirelessly in 2020 dealing with myriad issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Mosser said.
Brady, deputy chief of the Civil Division, provided legal support and guidance to the Health Department and Coroner’s Office, as well as a number of other county offices and departments and the County Board.
In addition, she helped to develop a program to distribute $92 million to various entities in Kane County in federal CARES Act money.
Employee of the Year
Anthony Ortiz was hired as an administrative assistant and in a short time rose to become the support staff supervisor. Anthony is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, having seen combat in Iraq.
“He leads by example, tirelessly works long hours to get things done,” Mosser said. “He will do anything he’s asked to do.”
Debra Bree Voice for Victims Award
Debra Bree is both the namesake and the first winner of this award.
“Deb made defending victims, particularly child victims, her life’s work, showing great compassion and passion at all times,” Mosser said. “Deb was always available to provide a kind word and motivation. She loved her job, and was never seen without her confident and friendly smile, despite her terminal illness and the subject matter of her work. We will miss her forever.
Ace of Spades, Felony
Assigned to the Special Prosecution Unit, Hillary Sadler took seven cases to trial in pandemic-impeded 2020.
“In a short time, Hillary Sadler has made her mark in the office and in the Kane County courts as a lawyer with a high acumen for the law and as a tireless preparer of every case she prosecutes,” Mosser said. “Hillary seeks to win every case assigned to her.”
Ace of Spades, Misdemeanor
Mosser said Hannah Thayer is always prepared for her hearings and court calls.
“Her six trials in 2020 were impressive, given that all were difficult domestic violence cases and they took place during a pandemic,” Mosser said. “Hannah rose to the challenge each time.”
“It was not just the number of hearings that Bridget Sabbia conducted,” Mosser said. “It was the conditions, circumstances and level of difficulty she faced.”
Sabbia moved from Juvenile Delinquency to Abuse & Neglect because of the exorbitant increase in cases. She conducted 33 shelter care hearings, 26 adjudicatory hearings, 21 dispositional hearings and one hearing to terminate parental rights.
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