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Cook County State's Attorney

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The questions

All candidates were invited to respond to questionnaires, although not all chose to participate. Click on a candidate's name to see the unedited response to each question.

Biographical information & experience
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    Alvarez
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    Yokoyama
Political party:
Birthdate: Did not respond
Occupation:
Marital status:
Spouse:

Education:

Civic, professional, fraternal or other affiliations:

Have you held elective or appointive political office or been employed by any branch of government?

Please list jobs or contracts you, members of your immediate family or business partners have had with government.

Anita Alvarez
Political party: Democrat
Birthdate: 1/16/1960
Occupation: Cook County State's Attorney
Marital status: married
Spouse: Dr. James Gomez

Education:

see attached resume

Civic, professional, fraternal or other affiliations:

see attached resume

Have you held elective or appointive political office or been employed by any branch of government?

I have been employed with the Cook County State's Attorney's Office since 1986 and currently serve as the elected State's Attorney.

Please list jobs or contracts you, members of your immediate family or business partners have had with government.

none

Lori Yokoyama
Political party: Republican
Birthdate: 8/16/1955
Occupation: Attorney Founder/Managing Partner of Lori S. C. Yokoyama and Associates, P.C.
Marital status: Married
Spouse: Dale

Education:

Sullivan High School, 1973
B.S. Accounting/Business (With Honors), Northeastern Illinois University, 1977
J.D., DePaul University College of Law, 1980
M.B.A., Executive Masters Program, J.L Kellogg Graduate School of Management, Northwestern University, 1994
Adjunct Professor, DePaul University College of Law (Advanced Trial Advocacy)

Civic, professional, fraternal or other affiliations:

Senator Mark Kirk's Asian Advisory Council; Illinois State Treasurer Dan Rutherford's Performance Audit Working Group; The Economics Club of Chicago (1998-present).Faculty member for Intertek's Risk Assessment Management Product Safety Training-"Product Safety and Liability" (2007-2009);
Appointed member of the DePaul University College of Law, Dean's Advisory Council (2000- 2009);
Elected Member of the Board of Directors of the Japan America Society of Chicago (2000-2006);
Advisory Board member of the Chinese American Service League, Inc. (1997-2009.); Member of WILPOWER, a politically active committee of the Illinois Women's Bar Association; Member, Illinois State Bar Association Judicial Evaluation Committee (1991-2003), and as that Committee's Vice Chair (2000-2003); Regional Governor of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (1997-2000); Member of the Illinois Research Park Authority (1996-2000), appointed by former Illinois Governor Jim Edgar; Founding Director of the Asian American Bar Association of the Greater Chicago Area (1988); Member of Cook County State's Attorney Richard Devine's Asian Advisory Council (1996-2004); Executive Board of Directors of the Japan America Society of Chicago (1996-2000);Deacon, Chicago United (1998-2000); Fellow of Leadership Greater Chicago (1990-1991);
Member of the United Way of Chicago Allocations Committee (1991-1999); Board of Directors for the Japanese American Service Committee (1987--1995); Volunteer Judge for the American Bar Association's (ABA) National Appellate Advocacy Competition and the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association's (NAPABA) Thomas Tang Moot Court Competition.

Have you held elective or appointive political office or been employed by any branch of government?

4th Ward Republican Committeemen,
2008 Republican Delegate and 2004 Republican Delegate

Please list jobs or contracts you, members of your immediate family or business partners have had with government.

None.

Campaign information
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    Alvarez
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Campaign headquarters:
Website:
Campaign manager:
Campaign budget:
Name your five biggest campaign contributors and the amount they contributed.

Alvarez

Campaign headquarters: Friends of Anita Alvarez, 120 N. LaSalle Street, Chicago, IL 60602
Website: www.anitaalvarez.com
Campaign manager: Brandy Graff
Campaign budget: Undetermined
Name your five biggest campaign contributors and the amount they contributed.
1. Nancy Schmidt ($26,625)
2. International Union of Operating Engineers Local #399 ($21,500)
3. Peck, Bloom, Austriaco & Mitchell LLC ($22,500)
4. Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters ($21,000)
5. Meckler, Bulger & Tilson LLP ($17,500)

Yokoyama

Campaign headquarters: 123 N Wacker Dr, #1350, Chicago, IL 60606
Website: www.lori2012.com
Campaign manager: Stephen Rossi
Campaign budget: TBD
Name your five biggest campaign contributors and the amount they contributed.

What else should the Cook County state's attorney do to combat the high number of homicides in Chicago and to get guns out of the hands of criminals?
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    Alvarez
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Alvarez

When it comes to crime, there is no more pressing issue right now than gun violence and other associated violent crimes that continue to present an imminent threat to the public and a significant challenge for all of us in law enforcement. One of the most significant public safety initiatives that I have worked on to attack this problem in my first term is a new law that increases criminal penalties for street gang members arrested by police in possession of loaded weapons.
We wrote the "Valadez Law" which is named in honor of slain Chicago Police Officer Alejandro Valadez who was killed in June of 2009 while he was on duty and responding to a call of shots fired in the Englewood community. Defendants convicted under this new law now face a mandatory prison sentence instead of being able to obtain probation.
Most importantly, this law is working: since it went into effect in late 2009, a total of 321 gang members have been charged under the Valadez Law and more than half of those cases have already resulted in convictions or guilty pleas.
Over the last four years the State's Attorney's Office has been the prinicipal force in enacting many other public safety initiatives that have been signed into law including another new measure that now permits local prosecutors to use the legal tools of "RICO" to target the organized criminal activities of street gangs (Street Gang RICO). My office is currently training our assistant state's attorney's on the use of this new law and we are beginning to build criminal cases around it.

Yokoyama

Rather than alienating law enforcement, e.g., Chicago Police Department and the Cook County Sheriff and the Community, the Cook County State's Attorney's Office needs to work cohesively with each of them. Currently, the CCSA is expending more time combating law enforcement and the community than gangs. None of the respective groups are talking to each other. Communication is the first step. I would bring all of the entities together to come up with an alternative to reducing the number of homicides. Clearly, the current plan is not working.

I would review the "Broken Windows" approach and its application to Cook County and consider the "Stop and Frisk" policy implemented in New York City.

I would support and advocate for a National Gang Task force to provide much needed resources and funding.

I would strongly advocate for the reinstitution of the Gang Task force that was disbanded when Superintendent Weis resigned.

Should the Cook County state's attorney be doing more to investigate political corruption in Chicago and Cook County government?
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Alvarez

Another very important issue that I have focused on during the course of my first term as State's Attorney has been public corruption. It is a topic that came up repeatedly when I ran for this office and we have been working very hard to attack the problem and step up our efforts.
At the outset of my administration, I hired a former federal prosecutor to help lead our efforts to investigate and prosecute cases involving financial, government and public corruption. We reorganized our public corruption and financial crimes units and made fundamental changes to help foster more new case referrals and to enhance our investigative partnerships.
Since taking office, my administration has indicted more than 100 offenders on public corruption and professional standards cases. This represents a significant increase in the amount of public corruption cases that were historically prosecuted by the Cook County State's Attorney's Office.
We also launched "Operation Cookie Jar," an ongoing effort to target public or government employees who have violated the public trust at the local level, including thefts from park districts, local village boards and township governments. While these cases are not always high profile --- they are significant because they directly represent the problem of local corruption and the costs that this crime brings to taxpayers.
Since the start of ‘Cookie Jar' investigations in 2010 and including today's cases, a total of 27 defendants have been charged. Of the 27, 14 of the defendants have pled guilty or been convicted on felony charges receiving sentences ranging from probation and restitution to up to six years in prison. ‘Cookie Jar' prosecutions have also led to the collection and reimbursement of more than $3 million in restitution payments for local governments and other agencies that were victimized.

Yokoyama

The question not should the CCSA be doing "more" but she should be doing something. As the "most corrupt" city in the nation, it is astonishing that virtually nothing has been done to reduce corruption in the City of Chicago.

The Office is a hot bed for political cronyism and corruption. The purpose of the Office is to uphold public safety through the fair and efficient administration of justice. It is supposed to represent "all" of the people of Cook County, regardless of their relationship to a particular person or party. The Lady of Justice is supposed to be blind, representing objectivity, i.e., in that justice is or should be meted out without fear or favour, regardless of identity, money, power, or weakness; blind justice and impartiality.

The case of recent notoriety involves the untimely and senseless death of David Koschman at the hands of Richard "R.J." Vanecko, the nephew of then Mayor Richard J. Daley. Despite the investigation by the Chicago SunTimes, Ms. Alvarez refused to appoint a Special Prosecutor. The investigation coincided with her application to fill a Federal Judicial vacancy. She was not selected for the vacancy. It took Judge Toomin, to order the appointment of a Special Prosecutor. The obvious question was did she need to "pay her dues" and at what cost to the citizens of Cook County. But for the intervention of Judge Toomin, the Koschman family may never have known what happened to David.

Rather than accept the frailties of human error, the Office not only opposed but vehemently attacked those that attempted to question wrongful convictions. When deciding to run for re-election the Office opened a "post conviction" unit. It has been almost six (6) months and nary a word has been heard from this unit. Releasing the "innocent" should be a top priority.

Another pending incident involves Harold Davis, Jr., a certified minority business owner. Mr. Davis was approached by Aramark Correctional Services who wanted to use his company as a "pass through." He advised the State's Attorney's office about Aramark's improper offer and regularly phones the Cook County State's Attorney's office about its investigation. Each time, he's been told that the case is "too sensitive" to discuss. Davis suspects the investigation of his allegations has gone nowhere because it would expose the McMahon family. The McMahon Food Corp., is a subcontractor of Aramark and is paid about $2.5 million a year to deliver milk to the Cook County Jail. Ms. Alvarez received $36,900 from the McMahon family. Two of the McMahon's are assistant state's attorneys. Both were owners of McMahon Food. A Cook County ethics ordinance bars county employees from having "a financial interest" in "any contract, work or business of the county."

The State's Attorney was supposed to institute a State RICO statute that would be akin to the Federal Statute. Instead the provision that included prosecuting politicians and union officials was deleted. I will impose zero tolerance when it comes to our efforts to investigate and root out public corruption wherever it leads.
The Cook County State's Attorney must be beyond reproach and of the highest integrity.

Chicago has been heralded as the "most corrupt" city in the Nation. My goal is to convert that to the most "anti-corrupt" city. I will bring objectivity back to the office. I will be the voice of the victims and wrongfully accused. I will work with outside agencies and offices to fully investigate and prosecute those who have committed crimes.

What legislation will you push for in Springfield over the next four years?
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Alvarez

Over the last four years the Cook County State's Attorney's Office has had a very robust legislative agenda in the Illinois General Assembly and I am very proud of the many new laws that we have written that have been passed into law that deal with important public safety issues such as gang and gun violence, human trafficking, domestic violence, stalking and alternative prosecution programs.
One of my top priorities moving forward will be to lobby for passage of a "Lost or Stolen" gun bill that would require gun owners to report to police if their weapon is lost or stolen. I consider this to be a common sense gun measure that will help law enforcement to target the so-called "straw purchasers" of guns who buy and sell illegal weapons without any tracking.
I have attempted to have this bill passed over the last several years and I intend to push the measure again in the next legislative session. I have asked for and received the support of Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy for this initiative and I look forward to working with him to help successfully pass this new law.
My legislative agenda over the next four years will also include bills dealing with domestic violence and sexual assault.

Yokoyama

The job to pass legislation is not the role of the State's Attorney. In fact, it is a direct violation of her duty as State's Attorney to apply her own personal belief and determine that a law is or is not constitutional.

However, as mentioned above I would advocate and strongly support legislation that would create a National Gang Task Force. I would also draft and present to the legislature a bill that would expand the recently enacted state RICO law to incude corrupt elected officials and union officers.

Will you use hearsay evidence in prosecutions as now permitted under the so-called "Drew's Law"?
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Alvarez

The decision to seek to use hearsay evidence in criminal prosecutions must be made on a case-by-case basis. While the Drew Peterson case drew a great deal of attention for the use of hearsay evidence, the reality is that hearsay evidence is used in criminal prosecutions every day all over the country.
Hearsay comes in many different forms, and may or may not be credible depending on surrounding circumstances. I would always ascertain that hearsay statements are credible before I sought to utilize such statements in any criminal prosecution.
I would also never want to see a criminal escape justice by killing those who could otherwise incriminate him. To the extent that it can be proven that the offender caused the death of a potential witness to prevent that witness from incriminating him, I would certainly seek to use credible statements made by that witness to establish relevant facts.

Yokoyama

It will depend on a case by case basis. The key element will be the veracity of the person who will be testifying. The purpose is not solely the number of convictions but guilt or innocence of the suspect. As has been proven recently, we need to consider the convictions of several inmates that were wrongfully convicted.

Are too many people prosecuted for low-level drug crimes?
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Alvarez

I would prefer that we prosecute drug dealers as opposed to drug users. It is clear to me that there are far too many cases in the criminal justice system and I think that prosecutors like me can play an important role in implementing new alternative programs and sentencing measures that not only bring justice, but also provide non-violent offenders with a second chance.
We have made great strides in initiating deferred prosecution and diversion programs, which allow for those arrested for certain types of crimes, including relatively minor drug offenses at both felony and misdemeanor levels, to avoid criminal prosecution. These programs are growing and they have shown tremendous success thus far.
In my view, the diversion of relatively minor crimes is beneficial for the arrestee, in that the arrestee is given opportunities to avoid a criminal record through education and treatment. The programs are also beneficial to the system, in that our limited resources are freed up to prosecute more serious crimes.
There are still many criminal cases in the system where the defendant is charged with possession of some illegal narcotics, but it is important to remember that we look at these cases individually. Many times, even though a defendant is charged with possession as opposed to some more serious offense, the individual has a criminal background that involves a more serious or violent crime.

Yokoyama

I support all of the laws that affect Cook County Citizens and will apply them fairly and equally. The City of Chicago recently chose to "decriminalize" marijuana possession of 15 grams or less. The police are allowed to write a citation with fines of $200-500.00, up to 10 hours of community service and there would be no risk of jail time.

Studies have shown that in States which have adopted similar laws the use of marijuana did not increase. The cost associated with prosecuting cases involving the possession of marijuana has skyrocketed along with the number of arrests. Even before incarceration, the cost associated with the arrest, booking and preliminary hearing is in the thousand(s) of dollars. Once convicted and sentenced, the substantial majority of these individuals were jailed and fined. Oftentimes, the individual could not afford to pay the fine and became a guest of the City or County for up to six (6) months in jail. The annual cost to house a prisoner is in the $22,000+ range. If each of the 18,000 arrested jailed for six (6) months this would cost the City of Chicago over $198,000,000, plus all of the professional time afforded by the Police Officers or other Law Enforcement, the prosecutors, the Judges and the support staff who prepare and manage all of the paper work. Taking these budgetary issues into account with the massive overcrowding in our jails, proper reform might work.

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle has been pushing to reduce the average daily occupancy of the Cook County Jail. Do you support her efforts?
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    Alvarez
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Alvarez

I support reduction of the population at Cook County Jail using effective alternative programming for non-violent offenders.
As I stated previously, my office has significantly increased the number of alternative court programs that we utilize in our office from eight to 29 specialty courts. In 2011, more than 6,300 participants benefited from these programs, which represents an increase of nearly 23 percent from 2010.
I am especially proud of our new Deferred Prosecution Program that we began in early 2011 which is enabling non violent felony offenders to avoid a felony conviction if they complete an intensive alternative prosecution program aimed at giving younger first time offenders a second chance. We are the first State's Attorney's office in the state of Illinois to implement this type of program, which diverts eligible offenders into an intensive 12-month pre-indictment program. We recently led efforts to establish this program in jurisdictions throughout Illinois and the measure was approved by the Illinois General Assembly and signed into law by Governor Pat Quinn last August. This unique program requires the consent of the victim of the crime and the participant must voluntarily complete all mandatory requirements during the course of their participation. Upon successful completion of the program, the felony charge will be dismissed by our office.
Despite our budgetary challenges, we are also achieving significant cost savings in our ongoing Drug School Program and our Mental Health and Drug Treatment Courts.
We have broken new ground here in Cook County with the establishment of Veteran's Court, designed for veterans who have served in defense of our country who have become involved in the criminal justice system.
This specialized court is designed for non violent offenders who have served in the United States Military who come into the criminal justice system with significant issues and in need of linkages to address the special challenges they have encountered since their re-entry to civilian life. Not only has Veteran's Court become a reality here in our county, we have taken the concept to full scale establishing a specialized Veteran's Court in all of our court districts. In 2011, there were more than 150 veterans admitted to this specialized court, which is a 71 percent increase over 2010. Additional savings to the county are also realized with this program due to the specialized partnership that we have developed with the Veteran's Administration. This means that participants are linked directly to services through the federal Veteran's Administration as opposed to the Cook County Health System.

Yokoyama

I support the efforts of CC Board President Toni Preckwinkle as it applies to electronic monitoring of suspects in "non-violent" crimes for both Adults and Juveniles. By reducing the daily occupancy and implementing electronic monitoring it could save the County, hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on the daily cost of incarcerating these suspects.

President Preckwinkle also has been pushing each county department to cut its budget. How will you be able to accomplish that without sacrificing effectiveness?
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Alvarez

I realize and acknowledge the dire fiscal circumstances of Cook County government and I have done everything in my power to deal with the cuts that have been imposed upon my office. Any further reductions in the Cook County State's Attorney's budget will not trim fat or reduce waste. They will cut directly into vital personnel who perform essential services that keep our office functioning at a very high level on a day-to-day basis. Unlike many other county offices, more than 95 percent of the State's Attorney's appropriation goes directly to fund payroll. Public safety has been and always will be my top priority as the Cook County State's Attorney and this principle will guide me in dealing with any additional cuts that may face my office.
Over the last 10 years, the Cook County budget for public safety has been reduced by 12 percent overall. During that same time, the Cook County State's Attorney's budget has been cut by more than 26 percent. Since 2002, the State's Attorney's Office has lost 127 Assistant State's Attorneys, 35 investigators and a debilitating 226 members of our administrative support staff.
The cuts have steadily eroded the ranks of the office, negatively impacted our ability to retain quality attorneys, particularly minority state's attorneys, and had an overall negative impact on the quality of service in many areas.
Despite this steady stream of cuts, the statutory responsibilities of my office have continued to increase. In fact, prosecutors in the Cook County State's Attorney's Office carry a higher caseload than most if not all of their counterparts across the nation. The office also has more statutory responsibilities than any of the largest five prosecutor's offices in the nation. Not only does Cook County handle felony, juvenile and misdemeanor cases, but also traffic cases, appeals and civil actions.
When it comes to budget cuts, I do not believe that all county agencies should be measured equally but instead considered individually with an honest assessment of how the agency performs and how important its services are to Cook County taxpayers. In my view, every agency in Cook County government was not created and does not perform equally. When the Cook County Board faces cuts in its budget -- and it is clear that Cook County continues to face such a situation -- then those cuts must be laid upon waste and redundancy and not vital public safety services.
I believe that it is bad public policy to continue to undermine the funding of the county's own public interest attorneys. As prosecutors and government civil lawyers, the dedicated men and women of the Cook County State's Attorney's Office provide the highest quality legal services for the victims and the people of Cook County and they do it at a bargain price far below market value.

Yokoyama

I would make sure that we are technology proficient. The days when a secretary took dictation and typed everything are becoming a distant memory. Computers have revolutionized the business world. Attorneys can do their own typing, research, cut/paste, copy and even fax from their computers. After assessing the work-load of the attorneys and support staff, I would determine the appropriate ratio. If support staff could not be spared then I would examine the expenses associated with each and every employee. The highest expense is typically medical/health insurance. As an entrepreneur, partner and business owner, I am always seeking ways to reduce expenses without loss of benefits. I reduced my medical expenses by 25% and maintained the low cost of office supplies by buying in bulk.

Upon review of the 2010 and 2011 budget for the office, I noted a substantial cost associated with the fleet of vehicles maintained by the office, i.e., $732,861.54-2011 and $736,479.20-2010. I would reduce and if possible, eliminate the vehicles.

I would also review the specific details for each line item under "Contractual Services." The total increased by almost $600,000 from 2010 to 2011.

The current State's Attorney refuses to disclose the number of guards in her detail. A source has revealed that she has four (4) guards in her detail. The guards not only drive the incumbent to and from work but they allegedly also drive her children to and from school. Upon taking office, I will reduce my security detail in half and they will be used solely for the benefit of the office. They will NOT be for "personal use."

Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart has said the closing of some mental-health facilities will increase the number of mentally ill people in the County Jail. Do you have a plan to keep those numbers from going too high?
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    Alvarez
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Alvarez

As the Cook County State's Attorney, I do not have any any role or authority in dealing with detainees that are admitted into the Cook County Jail.
For my part, our office operates a very successful mental health court program that provides detainees who have mental health issues with mental health services as their case proceeds through the court system.

Yokoyama

There is no short term answer to this problem. Every time these is a budget cut, mental-health facilities are the first to feel the impact. If a person is not of sound mind they do not belong in the Cook County Jail but in a mental health facility. I would advocate and support adopting New York's Kendra's Law. The proposal would be to treat people with mental illness on an out-patient basis. In order to get into the treatment program, a court order will have to be issued by a judge. The program is designed to prevent full-time commitment of people with mental illness whose behavior is putting themselves and others at risk for injury and/or jail time.

Do you think it is proper for a prosecutor to over-charge a case to facilitate a prompt disposition?
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    Alvarez
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Alvarez

It is never proper for a prosecutor to "over-charge" a case for any reason. The fact is that the majority of felony cases in the criminal justice system are disposed of by way of guilty pleas. Sometimes, the guilty plea is as the result of a conference involving the trial judge and other times the guilty plea is the result of a plea negotiation between the prosecution and the defense.
When the defendant pleads guilty after a plea negotiation between the prosecution and the defense, sometimes that guilty plea is a plea to a reduced charge. When that occurs, this does not mean that the case was originally "over-charged." This guilty plea is simply the appropriate disposition at that time, and can be the product of many different factors, including the willingness of the defendant to accept responsibility, the need to not expend resources to take cases to trial where a defendant is willing to plead guilty, the desire to keep victims and witnesses from being inconvenienced unnecessarily, etc. The bottom line is that I would never approve of, or condone, the charging of any crime other than that which is appropriate based upon the evidence and the information available at the time.

Yokoyama

Not if there is no evidence to support the charge.

Research has indicated that false confessions and mistaken witness identifications are a leading source of cases in which innocent people are prosecuted. What will you do to address those issues?
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    Alvarez
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Alvarez

In 2005 the Cook County State's Attorney's Office supported efforts in the state of Illinois to change our laws to mandate the recording of all homicide interrogations and confessions. This has been an extremely important reform that makes custodial questioning transparent. It also protects the rights of all of those involved including the defendant as well as the police and the prosecutors conducting those interviews who may later be falsely accused of misconduct.
This important reform is working and it is working very well and when I became State's Attorney I felt that we could do even more in this area. In 2009 we worked with the Chicago Police Department to expand the use of videotaping to include interviews with witnesses in murder cases. We started this as a pilot program but we have now expanded its availability to include all homicide cases that occur in the Chicago. This is also proving to be an exceptional advancement for the integrity of homicide cases because it helps to capture and preserve the final statements of our witnesses and enhance the strength of our cases as they move to trial.
But I still believe that there is more that we can do more in this area and as a prosecutor I have a legal, ethical and moral obligation to do so. Last Spring I announced the creation of a Conviction Integrity Unit within the State's Attorney's Office that will bring a new emphasis and a new focus on our review of cases involving questionable convictions. The creation of this new unit marks a shift in philosophy in which we intend to increased knowledge and openness about these cases. It will also allow us to formalize protocols and procedures and to be much more proactive in our review of these cases.
The unit is reviewing post-conviction cases that are brought to our attention, and we are paying particular attention to the types of cases that we have seen have led to wrongful or questionable convictions such as cases involving single eyewitnesses. Or, cases involving confessions with little or no supporting evidence, particularly those involving juvenile defendants or defendants with mental health issues. We will also examine cases where physical evidence was not examined fully.
With the creation of this new unit I think that I am demonstrating my commitment to ensuring that only guilty people are convicted here in Cook County. And if we have any reason to believe that we have prosecuted or are prosecuting someone who is actually innocent, we will continue to take immediate steps to investigate the matter fully to see that justice is served.

Yokoyama

I would immediately increase the Conviction Integrity Unit. Three (3) ASA's, two investigators and one victim witness coordinator has proven to be insufficient and ineffective.

The Unit has been in effect for over 6 months. During that time Ms. Alvarez has dismissed the charges against one man, Alprentiss Nash. But the full story is not told. Mr. Nash remained in prison for two additional years despite the belief that DNA testing would exonerate him When his defense counsel requested the testing. Ms. Alvarez opposed the test. The trial court dismissed the request. But for the Appellate Court reversing the trial court, the DNA testing never would have been conducted and Mr. Nash would not have been freed.

There are over 100 cases that need to be reviewed. Two high profile cases are the Dixmoor Five and the Englewood Four. Both cases have DNA evidence that either none of the accused were involved in the crime or it establishes that someone else committed the murder. Hundreds of people have been exonerated due to DNA testing.
My job is to seek justice. Not just for some but for everyone in Cook County. I would never have opposed the DNA testing in the Nash case. I want to review "all" of the evidence. And if the evidence exonerates someone, (s)he deserves to be freed.

The cost to the taxpayers of Cook County was the professional hours spent opposing the DNA testing. The cost to Mr. Nash was the additional two (2) years of his loss of freedom. Is there a price that can be associated with that? How can it be justified to assign three (3) ASAs from close to a staff of 900 to review these cases?
I will make sure that each of these cases is thoroughly reviewed and order DNA testing where appropriate. I will consider the integrity of the witnesses and the alibi's of the accused. As for those wrongfully convicted I will work with defense attorneys and the various community groups, such as the Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern University Law School, the Innocence Project, etc. to expedite and streamline the process.

The candidates

Lori Yokoyama

Lori Yokoyama

 
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