Morgan County Adds Asst. State’s Attorney

By Benjamin Cox on May 24, 2021 at 9:05am

Morgan County has a new assistant’s state’s attorney. John “Jake” Kelley has been hired to take over for the departing Craig Miller. Miller won election April to the Cass County State’s Attorney’s office.

Kelley was a previous assistant’s state’s attorney in Sangamon County from 2001-2005. Kelley resigned from the post in early 2006 under allegations of official misconduct. According to reports by the State Journal Register, Kelley admitted to using cocaine and marijuana to the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission. The commission recommended that the Illinois Supreme Court suspend his law license in 2008.

Morgan County State’s Attorney Gray Noll says that Kelley served his suspension successfully and has been in private law practice since 2010: “He lost his license to practice for one year. He self-admitted it, and resigned his position at that point in Sangamon County. He would tell you that he made a mistake, that you can’t do that type of thing at all, especially when you’re a prosecutor. He sought and successfully completed an intensive out-patient counseling at that time. It’s been 15-16 years ago now.”

Noll says he was a colleague at the time of Kelley’s resignation and Noll’s uncle Jon Gray Noll defended Kelley in court. Kelley was never arrested or officially charged with any crime in the investigation that also saw fellow assistant state’s attorney Dan Mills resign.

Noll says with all of the issues behind him, he feels that Kelley was the best candidate for the job due to his years of experience in prosecuting and defending DUI and traffic cases: “I know him well enough to know that he’s a good man, and a very good prosecutor. I think the people of Morgan County are fortunate to have an individual with his level of experience in a position like traffic/DUI prosecutor. Four or five individuals applied for the position. Mr. Kelley was the most qualified for a number of reasons, but certainly the experience was probably at the top of the list. He was certainly the individual who had the most years of practice, not to mention the most years of being a prosecutor, specifically in the DUI/traffic division. He was also an assistant state’s attorney in the civil division while he was at Sangamon County, and that’s exactly what we needed in Morgan County. It was not only the years of experience but the type of law that he practiced both in private practice and formerly as a prosecutor that made him a good fit.”

Noll says that with Kelley now joining he and Chad Turner in the State’s Attorney’s Office, the people of Morgan County now have over 60 years of combined experience in the county’s top law office.