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STATE'S ATTORNEY RACE | Peraica, Suffredin, 6 others debate

Saturday, November 17, 2007
Chicago Sun-Times

A few years ago, Cook County commissioners Larry Suffredin and Tony Peraica were on the same team fighting the administration of John Stroger. Now they sling verbal arrows at each other as they run for state's attorney.

At a forum Friday at the Union League Club, Peraica quoted Suffredin talking to Democratic party leaders: "Larry Suffredin said, 'Ladies and gentlemen, if we don't get our act together, we're going to hand this office over to Tony Peraica, which would be the worst possible thing in the world that could happen to us.' "

As the laughter died down, Peraica said to Suffredin, "Did I quote you correctly?"

Suffredin nodded.

"Larry and I disagree on a lot of things but we agree on that point," Peraica said. "I would bring the kind of independence to this office that would not kowtow to any power, Democratic or Republican."

"He has flawed judgment," Suffredin said of Peraica. "I don't trust him to be a fair person."

Peraica shot back to Suffredin, "He was one of the first to support Todd Stroger [for county board president], so talk about flawed judgement . . ."

Suffredin shouted that he would support Stroger again if Peraica was the opponent.

Part of the reason Suffredin said he is running is because "there is a belief that justice is not equal, that decisions made in Winnetka are not the same ones made in Robbins or in Maywood or in South Chicago or in Englewood."

First Assistant State State's Attorney Bob Milan, running against Suffredin in the Democratic primary, responded: "Larry, how dare you allege that assistant state's attorneys in this office treat anyone differently in Robbins than they do in Winnetka. That's outrageous. . . . You made an allegation you don't know what you were talking about because you were never one of us. So talk about what you know."

The six Democratic and two Republican candidates had varied opinions about whether prosecutors still look the other way when police beat suspects into confessing -- as some were accused of 20 years ago. Democrat Tommy Brewer said he is not convinced that's over.

The candidates split evenly over whether Chicago aldermen should get the names of police officers with inordinate numbers of complaints. Suffredin, Peraica, Brewer and Ald. Howard Brookins (21st) said they should. Milan, Ald. Tom Allen (38th), Chief Deputy State's Attorney Anita Alvarez and attorney Ed Barron disagreed, saying it could unfairly tarnish good officers' reputations.
Highlights of Friday's forum will be played on NewsRadio 78 (780 AM) at 9:30 a.m. Sunday.

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