State’s Attorney Election – #KnowYourGovernment

Overview

The State’s Attorney functions as the district attorney for Cook County, and heads the second largest prosecutor’s office in the United States. In addition to direct criminal prosecution, the State’s Attorney’s Office files legal actions to enforce child support orders, protect consumers and the elderly from exploitation, and assist thousands of victims of domestic violence every year. The office also serves as legal counsel for Cook County government agencies, and serves as legal counsel for all Cook County public officials.

Why is it important?

This has been one of the more contentious local races this year, following the primary election defeat of former State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez. She was heavily criticized for waiting 13 months before bringing first-degree murder charges against officer Jason Van Dyke, who fatally shot 17-year-old Laquan McDonald 16 times. The winner of the upcoming election will be under increased public scrutiny regarding cases of police misconduct as a result.

Candidates on the Issues

In the running are Democrat and current assistant state’s attorney Kim Foxx, who defeated Anita Alvarez by a 2-1 margin in the primary election, and Republican/longtime criminal prosecutor Christopher Pfannkuche.

Stance on… Kim Foxx (D) Christopher E.K. Pfannkuche (R)
Criminal Justice
  • Supports ending prosecutions of non-violent drug offenses
  • Supports deploying an early-intervention model to divert low-risk offenders from the criminal system and into treatment programs and other community-based initiatives
  • Supports working with the Chicago Police Department and other police forces to revitalize community policing as well as implement cultural competency training
  • Emphasize the prosecution of drug dealers instead of minor personal possession or usage
  • Focus on violent offenders
  • Eliminate the jailing of non-violent first time felony offenders and misdemeanor offenders to reduce crowding
Guns Supports standing up to the gun lobby and demanding strict new safety standards for firearms and penalties for irresponsible gun manufacturers Supports prosecuting illegal gun possession
Youth Supports forming partnerships with schools and other youth agencies to implement restorative justice practices for young people Supports community outreach,ambassador and intern programs for youth
Wages Supports aggressively pursuing cases of wage theft and other workplace abuses N/a
Environment Supports prosecuting those who unlawfully pollute our air, water, and environment N/a

 

Government Operations
  • Supports employing evidence-based practices to ensure the equal administration of the law and fight against racially disparate outcomes
  • Opposes providing a taxpayer-funded vehicle every member of senior staff, which is the current practice
Opposes micro-managing and wasting taxpayer dollars.

Full candidate profiles are available on Voter’s Edge.

Additional Resources:

Cook County’s State’s Attorney Race Is A Watershed Moment For Black Lives Matter (ThinkProgress)
Chicago Sun-Times endorsement for Kim Foxx
Daily Herald’s questionaires for Kim Foxx and Christopher Pfannkuche

References:

Duties of the Cook County State’s Attorney (Chicago Reporter)
The Criminal Justice Crusade of Kim Foxx (Chicago Reader)

Photo credit: Assata’s Daughters

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