The Office of the Waseca County Attorney
The county attorney is the chief prosecutor for Waseca County. An attorney from our staff appears in court for every hearing or trial involving a criminal matter that is alleged to have occurred in Waseca County. In addition, the County Attorney's Office represents the interests of the county in civil matters and provides advice to the county Board of Commissioners and other county officers. The county attorney assists the Department of Human Services in the collection of child support and in determination of paternity, as well as judicial commitment proceedings of people who suffer from a mental illness.
In each of Minnesota's 87 counties, a county attorney is elected to handle numerous criminal and civil responsibilities. The following is a brief description of these duties and responsibilities.
The county attorney is the legal advisor for the county Board of Commissioners, county officials, and county departments. The county attorney is not authorized to provide legal advice to private citizens. The county attorney does provide legal advice to the county board and departments in areas such as: defending challenges to property tax values, enforcing environmental and health ordinances, and forfeiting property used in connection with criminal activity. Additionally, the County Attorney's Office assists the county in buying property, negotiating leases and contracts, and defending the county against law suits.
Prosecution of Crime
The Waseca County Attorney's Office prosecutes all crimes that occur in the county, whether they are felony, gross misdemeanor, or misdemeanor level crimes. Prosecution typically involves reviewing investigative reports from law enforcement officers, filing criminal complaints, presenting cases to a judge or jury, and making sentencing recommendations to the judge. In certain cases, a matter may be presented to a grand jury.
The county attorney is the prosecutor in all crimes involving juvenile offenders. These cases range from curfew violations to the most serious criminal behavior. Our office also oversees a diversion program that allows juvenile offenders to receive consequences for minor offenses without appearing in court. On the other hand, due to public safety concerns, for very serious offenses the county attorney may ask the court to certify a juvenile to stand trial as an adult. If convicted, the offender may then be sentenced to the same sanctions that an adult would receive.
Victim, Child & Other Services
Our office has a victim / witness coordinator who advises crime victims of their legal rights and the status of their cases. The County Attorney's Office works with the Department of Human Services to protect abused and neglected children who live in our county. The office also starts legal proceedings to protect vulnerable adults when they are in need of assistance. The county attorney files involuntary commitment actions to provide necessary treatment for persons who are mentally ill, or chemically dependent. The county attorney brings legal action to obtain or enforce child support obligations or to establish paternity of a child, in order to obtain reimbursement of public assistance paid to families in need. Parents who do not receive public assistance may also apply for and receive child support enforcement services from the county at a minimal cost.