Lake County State’s Attorney Mike Nerheim is considered a national leader on a variety of criminal justice issues, including the opioid epidemic, conviction integrity, gang prosecution, and criminal justice reform.
The Lake County Opioid Initiative (LCOI) that he co-founded in 2012 is considered a model across the country in addressing the opioid and overdose crises. LCOI’s innovative programs and solutions, including the groundbreaking A Way Out program, have connected many hundreds with addiction to treatment and saved countless lives. In 2014, he was appointed Co-Chairman of the Suburban Anti-Heroin Taskforce to work with suburban counties and community members to fight the spread of heroin use in Illinois communities.
In August 2019, State’s Attorney Nerheim filed the first-of-its-kind lawsuit in the U.S. against e-cigarette maker Juul Labs for intentionally targeting teenagers with deceptive marketing and creating a public health crisis. He testified in front of state lawmakers about the dangers of teen vaping and the need to enact legislation to curb the health epidemic. He is a leading voice on this important issue.
State’s Attorney Nerheim’s commitment to justice and addressing wrongful convictions remains a top priority, including reexamining cases of those wrongly accused. On his first day in office, he implemented an independent Case Review Panel, which is supplemented by an in-house Prosecution Protocol & Conviction Review Unit and a Citizens Advisory Board, which reviews legitimate extra judicial, post-conviction claims of innocence as well as the root causes of wrongful convictions. The post-conviction review boards were implemented in response to past miscarriages of justice prior to his taking office.
State’s Attorney Nerheim Co-Chairs the Executive Committee for Fight Crime: Invest in Kids Illinois—a bipartisan, nonprofit, anti-crime organization of more than 350 Illinois police chiefs, sheriffs, state’s attorneys, other law enforcement leaders, and crime survivors who believe that the best way to fight crime is to help kids get the right start in life. The organization works closely at the legislative level addressing the needs to change and amend policy on early education and child abuse at the national level, and conducts research to prevent and reduce crime. He was selected to take part in the 2018 McCormick Foundation Executive Fellows program at Ericsson Institute focusing on early childhood development and its impact on crime prevention and public safety.
In December 2018, he was elected by his colleagues in the Second Judicial District to serve on the Board of Governors of the Illinois Office of State’s Attorneys Appellate Prosecutor and was elected by members statewide to serve on the Executive Committee of the Illinois State’s Attorney’s Association. He is a member of the Illinois Juvenile Justice Reform Commission, and the Illinois Sexual Assault Evidence Tracking and Reporting Commission.
Among his prestigious awards and accolades, State’s Attorney Nerheim was twice named State’s Attorney of the Year by the Illinois State Crime Commission and has been recognized by the National Gang Crime Research Center and the Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault.