DECATUR – Jane Foster spent the first 11 years of her career as a prosecutor, but after she lost an election for state's attorney, she spent four years on the other side of the courtroom.
When she heard about an opening in the Macon County State's Attorney's Office, she jumped at the chance to cross back to the state's side.
“I always wanted to be a prosecutor because I wanted to serve my community and make it a safe place to live and help protect the victims of crime,” said Foster. The 42-year-old was hired Sept. 1, replacing longtime assistant Tammara Wagoner, who resigned in July.
Foster served two years as the first assistant to McLean County State's Attorney Bill Yoder, who resigned in 2011 to accept a position as associate judge of the 11th Circuit. When she ran in the primary to replace Yoder in 2012, she lost by 1,998 votes to Jason Chambers, a private attorney and former prosecutor.
“It was a contentious campaign,” said Foster, who resigned from her position two months after the primary election.
Foster hung her shingle to take on criminal defense cases and worked a part-time stint as a contract lawyer for the McLean County Public Defender's Office. As she began searching for a way to return to her “first love and true passion” as a prosecutor, she applied for the Decatur position.
As Foster grew up, attending Calvary Baptist Academy in Normal, she was set on becoming a teacher like her mother, Susan Foster, and grandmother, Ina White.
Foster's girlhood hero, White was the first female principal in the Unit 5 School District. Foster represents the sixth generation living on the family farm, established in 1850, near the village of Towanda.
Foster became interested in law while reading biographies of Abraham Lincoln. She earned her law degree at Regent University School of Law, Virginia Beach, Va.
Nichole Kroncke, first assistant Macon County State's Attorney, said the office is fortunate to have Foster.
“I look forward to trying cases with her as a trial partner,” Kroncke said. “She is a well-rounded prosecutor who cares about justice.”