MARSHALL - The search for an additional attorney to help meet increasing workloads in the Lyon County Attorney's Office came to a close this week. Members of the Lyon County Board voted to approve hiring Abby Wikelius as an assistant county attorney.
Lyon County Attorney Rick Maes said having Wikelius join the attorney's office will help address a growing number of court cases.
In recent years, Maes said, "It seems like there are more cases coming into the office, and it involves more time."
The number of jury trials being held in the county has gone up, and the county has had to take on more appeals and other cases that would have been addressed at the state level in the past.
With an additional attorney, Maes said, "I think we can provide a more effective and efficient approach, across the spectrum." There would also be less burnout for staff at the attorney's office, he said.
The county began the search process for an assistant county attorney in November, and interviews with candidates were conducted in March. The county included money for an additional assistant attorney in its 2013 budget.
Wikelius' position will be full time. Maes said she will be working with a variety of court cases, including juvenile delinquency and Human Services cases in addition to prosecuting criminal cases. Lyon County has a small attorney's office, so there isn't as much specialization as there may be in larger counties, he said.
Maes said Wikelius has experience that will make her a positive addition to the county attorney's office. Wikelius has worked in the Lyon County court system for about a year and a half as a judicial clerk for District Court Judge Michelle Dietrich.
"She knows the process, and she knows the people" of the Lyon County court system, Maes said. "There isn't as great of a learning curve."
Before coming to Marshall, Wikelius also had prior experience prosecuting misdemeanor-level court cases in Johnson County, Iowa, Maes said.