Mike Rock is a 1988 graduate of the University of California at San Diego with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science. He received his Juris Doctor from the University of San Francisco in 1992. He was admitted to the Minnesota Bar in 1992 and the Illinois Bar in 1993.
In March of 1994, after a short tenure with a civil firm in Chicago, he began working in the Ogle County State’s Attorney’s Office. Starting in Juvenile/Civil, he then moved to Misdemeanor/Traffic before handling Felonies. In June of 2000 he moved into a Rockford-based criminal defense firm where he handled the firm’s felony cases. In December 2010, he returned back to the Ogle County State’s Attorney’s Office as First Assistant and served in that capacity until January 2013, when he was appointed State’s Attorney by the County Board.
In 2014, he began working in the Winnebago County State’s Attorney Office as a Deputy State’s Attorney and in 2019 was promoted to Chief of Staff. His duties included supervising multiple courtrooms as well as being first chair in the Felony Drug courtroom where he tried numerous high-level drug cases as well as murder cases.
In 2020 he was elected State’s Attorney in Ogle County and his term of office commenced on December 1, 2020.
The Office of the State’s Attorney is created by Section 19 of the Constitution of the State of Illinois. The State’s Attorney of each county serves a four year term.
The express powers and duties of the State’s Attorney are provided in Section 3-9005 of the Counties Code. 55 ILCS 5/3-9005. The primary duty of the State’s Attorney is to commence and prosecute criminal actions occurring within the County, as determined actionable within the discretion of the elected State’s Attorney. The ultimate duty of a prosecutor is to seek justice.
Currently, the office consists of three full-time assistant state’s attorneys, one part-time assistant state’s attorney, one full-time office manager, one full-time victim witness coordinator, two full-time clerical staff and one part-time clerical staff. The office is currently looking for an additional full-time assistant state’s attorney and one full-time clerical staff.
Since taking office in December 2020, Rock and the staff have made significant progress in clearing up the backlog of inherited cases, while efficiently moving the newer cases through the justice system to ensure that justice is done not only for the defendants, but also for the victims. The office workload has remained steady from a criminal and civil perspective, but the Office has operated under budget due to ongoing staff shortages.
The attorneys in the office have provided trainings to law enforcement and worked with other partners in the criminal justice system to ensure that strong cases are being filed. The office has helped create a Strangulation Task Force to make sure that this potentially deadly type of case is investigated and prosecuted in the most effective manner possible. Moreover, the office has focused on making sure that major traffic and domestic violence cases are enhanced to felonies, when warranted. The office currently has four homicide cases pending.
State’s Attorney Rock and his full-time staff have over 60 years of legal experience, including 53 years of prosecution experience and have combined to try over 100 jury trials to verdict including multiple first degree murders.
State’s Attorney Rock in addition to handling a Felony caseload is the lead attorney in the Ogle County New Horizons Drug Court Program and serves as legal counsel to the County Board, its subsidiary boards, and all county officials acting in their official capacities. Numerous other duties are delineated and imposed upon the State’s Attorney in various statutes.