116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — Nick Maybanks has worked as a Linn County prosecutor for over 21 years and wants to continue to make this community stronger and safer because it’s not only his job, it’s where he grew up and where he and his wife are raising their two young daughters.
“A prosecutor’s only job is to do justice, and the cause of justice should make people’s lives better,” Maybanks told The Gazette on Tuesday as he officially announced his campaign to be the next elected Linn County attorney.
Maybanks, a Democrat, was appointed to the position by the Linn County Board of Supervisors earlier this month after Jerry Vander Sanden retired early in December. Maybanks’ appointed term ends Dec. 31. The county attorney is an elected position that will be on the November ballot.
No other candidates have announced an intent to run at this time. Vander Sanden served as the county attorney for over 11 years of his 38 years in the Linn County Attorney’s Office.
Maybanks, 46, realizes the elected position is a “political post,” but he doesn’t think most in the community view the role in that way.
“I’m no politician,” he is the first to point out. “I’m just the guy that goes into court to represent the people and fight for them. Fighting for the people as a prosecutor means wearing a lot of different hats, but traditional politics has little to do with that fight — to make people’s lives safer, more secure and more stable.”
Maybanks thinks he has the strongest qualifications to be the “chief law enforcement officer” of Linn County. In his tenure as a prosecutor, he has handled nearly every type of criminal case, worked with “hundreds” of police officers and investigators “on behalf of thousands of victims.”
He has prosecuted some of the most high-profile cases, including the murder of 18-year-old Michelle Martinko, who was fatally stabbed after going to Westdale Mall on Dec. 19, 1979, a cold case that haunted the Cedar Rapids community for nearly 40 years; the fatal shooting of 19-year-old Latasha Roundtree, a former high school basketball star who had nothing to do with a dispute between others but ended up as the shooter’s mistaken target on Sept. 22, 2012; and several child abuse homicides, which all ended in convictions.
Maybanks has received many awards and honors for his trial work and his accomplishments as first assistant prosecutor of the office. His work on the Martinko case, along with the rest of the prosecution and law enforcement team, earned the 2020 Award of Excellence in Victim Services by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Iowa.
Maybanks said his transition since being appointed Jan. 4 has been “smooth” because of his experience in the office and his relationships with his “all-star team” of assistant prosecutors. He already has implemented easy changes that have immediately made the processing of referrals for criminal prosecution more efficient and cost-effective, he said.
He has delegated some duties to his first assistant prosecutor, Monica Slaughter, and criminal division chief, Jordan Schier, which allows Maybanks to take a more proactive and guiding role in investigations of “higher-level” violent crimes, child abuse and sex offenses. He also plans to continue taking cases as lead prosecutor.
Maybanks also has made an effort to be more accessible to law enforcement early on in investigations. He wants to continue to build that trust with the police, deputies and investigators in the county, so they can work as a team to build the best cases possible for solid convictions, he said.
He believes the job of a county attorney should extend to the “health and welfare” of those who are prosecuted, so he plans to create programs to help rehabilitate offenders and expand programs already in place, such as the marijuana diversion program. That program could be used for other minor drug offenses and low-level property crimes. There could be less jail or prison time for those, but instead, emphasize restitution as the objective, while also ensuring accountability, he said.
Maybanks has asked the Board of Supervisors to add a “rehabilitation” assistant prosecutor, who will take cases that Maybanks has identified with offenders most amenable to rehabilitation and cases that could be resolved with probation, a diversion program or a specialty court, such as drug court. This prosecutor would continue to follow these specific cases all the way through the resolution process.
If the office gets approval for the rehabilitation prosecutor, it may be a “novel” position that could set a standard for these kinds of offenses in the state and beyond, Maybanks said. He doesn’t know of another prosecutor’s office with this specific position.
Maybanks said if he is granted the “honor and privilege” of serving a full term, the community will get the best of both worlds — a prosecutor with “immense experience who is forward-thinking, an advocate for victims, staunch protector of public safety and a protagonist for all.”
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