Four top Cook County officials offered a wide spectrum of opinions Thursday as they talked about resolving problems in the criminal justice system, though all agreed too many people charged with minor crimes end up locked up in jail.
A longtime criminal defense attorney said Monday’s acquittal of a Chicago police officer in the off-duty shooting of an unarmed woman appears to be the result of prosecutors giving the officer a break.
State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez was scheduled to announce reforms to how her office handles minor drug cases, including dismissal of all future misdemeanor marijuana cases. The move also is expected to cover how prosecutors handle cases involving small amounts of other drugs; including ecstasy, cocaine, and heroin.
“One of the priorities of this new working group will be to address the challenges that discourage our victims from reporting sexual assault,” said Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez.
Several parents who have children in a daycare center in LaGrange Highlands have banded together to ask prosecutors to file more serious charges against the man who allegedly smashed several car windows in the parking lot this week, fearing his behavior will grow more violent.
Gov. Pat Quinn commuted the sentence of a man recently imprisoned for lying in a murder case — and also commuted the sentences of a man convicted of killing a 77-year-old woman, a man convicted of shooting police officers and a man convicted of killing a college basketball standout — all in the governor’s final day in office.
Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez was among several people honored by her own prosecutors Wednesday for their efforts to put arsonists behind bars, for her controversial decision to prosecute the so-called “NATO 3″ on terrorism charges for a plot to use Molotov cocktails ahead of the NATO Summit two years ago.
In another stunning reversal in a 1982 double murder, Cook County prosecutors have thrown out the conviction of 64-year-old Alstory Simon, whose videotaped confession freed Anthony Porter from death row in 1999, approximately 48 hours before Porter was to be executed.
Cook County’s top prosecutor says she hopes the focus on domestic abuse due to problems in the NFL brings changes for victims here, reports WBBM’s Nancy Harty.
Although numbers are vague, the crime of human trafficking presents a real challenge to law enforcement and welfare agencies, who have teamed up to try to raise awareness of troubled children who end up being manipulated or forced into prostitution.
Cook County prosecutors were taking another step Wednesday toward possibly releasing a man from prison – 15 years after he confessed to two murders.
The letter to Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez said the prosecution of Willie Johnson could discourage other people from recanting prior testimony.
County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and Sheriff Tom Dart have sought alternate arrangements such as home monitoring for inmates charged with non-violent crimes, but Alvarez expressed reservations to a broad-brush approach to releasing such inmates.
The Cook County State’s Attorney has been re-evaluating a 1982 murder case to see if the right man is in prison, and WBBM has learned there are developments in the case.
Former Cook County State’s Attorney Richard Devine has said he doesn’t remember one of his top prosecutors raising concerns about the innocence of a man who was freed from death row in 1999, in a case that became a catalyst to end the death penalty in Illinois.
Alstory Simon confessed to the murders of two people, but has since said his confession was coerced.
The Chicago police union has asked the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office to examine a milestone double murder case, to see if the right man is behind bars.
Opening arguments are set to begin Monday in the trial for two men accused in the 2009 shooting death of Chicago police officer Alejandro Valadez.
Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez has written a scathing letter to Gov. Pat Quinn, saying the state board that looks into police torture allegations has acted illegally.
Racketeering and conspiracy charges were filed against 23 defendants who are primarily top leaders and members of the Black Souls gang, Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez said.