Suffredin- An Advocate for All of Us  
 

Accountability
Forest Preserves
Public Safety
Cook County Budget
Forest Pres. Budget
Property Tax Appeal
Health & Hospitals
Land Bank Authority
Policy Resolutions
Unsung Heroine

 

   
 
   
   
 
   
     
  Office phone numbers:  
   
 
 

Search current and proposed Cook County Legislation in Larry's exclusive legislative library.

   
 

The Cook County Code of Ordinances are the current laws of Cook County.

   
  The Cook County Law Library is the second largest County law library in the nation.
   
     
     
     



Prosecutor Alvarez creates team to probe wrongful conviction claims

Friday, February 03, 2012

by RUMMANA HUSSAIN

The Cook County State’s Attorney’s office has established a new six-person unit that will solely investigate wrongful convictions claims, which critics in the past have said weren’t sufficiently probed.

The office has always taken such cases seriously and has reversed murder convictions when it found people were erroneously put behind bars, State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez said Thursday.

But now Alvarez says she has a dedicated staff that will review the questionable convictions and pay particular attention to cases in which physical evidence was not fully examined and cases involving single eyewitnesses.

The creation of the unit marks a “shift in philosophy,” in which the office intends to “increase our focus and our openness about these cases,” Alvarez said at a City Club of Chicago luncheon.

“In my view, my job is not just about racking up convictions, it’s about always seeking justice, even if that measure of justice means that we must acknowledge mistakes of the past,” she said

The Conviction Integrity Unit, which has been operating for the last month, consists of three prosecutors, two investigators and one victim-witness specialist, Alvarez said.

Alvarez noted that many of current 35 cases the unit is now reviewing took place when DNA testing was primitive and interrogations weren’t videotaped. Today, investigators have the tools to do thorough examinations of the claims set force by innocence projects and defense attorneys, she said, adding that the unit will train younger prosecutors on what to look for when there may be a question on whether the right suspect was detained.

“Thirty years ago maybe we were quicker to approve a charge than we are today,” Alvarez told reporters afterward.

During her 20-minute speech, Alvarez expressed dismay at being compared to the “Gestapo” during the legal showdown with David Protess, the former head of Northwestern University’s Medill Innocence Project. Prosecutors, like journalists, were seeking the truth, when they sought and eventually won the right to examine roughly 500 emails student journalists exchanged with Protess in their investigation into whether the wrong man was put behind bars for a 1978 Harvey murder, she said. But Protess spun it as an “us vs. them” situation in the press, Alvarez said.

In an email Thursday, Protess said since Alvarez’s name is on the “subpoena for my students’ notes and grades, she instigated the ‘us vs. them’ dynamic.”

He did, however, applaud the state’s attorney’s Conviction Integrity Unit.

“I fully support the idea of a wrongful convictions unit and will bring our cases to its attention in the future,” Protess said.

“We should have a common interest in pursuing justice, as we have had in the past.”



Recent Headlines

Morning Spin: Coke, Pepsi, Dr Pepper give campaign cash in soda tax fight
Thursday, September 21, 2017
Chicago Tribune

Cook County’s ‘health’ lie, in black and white
Thursday, September 21, 2017
Chicago Tribune

Illinois Medical District to get largest ambulance garage in Cook County
Wednesday, September 20, 2017
Crain's Chicago Business

Family Health Network Members Join CountyCare
Wednesday, September 20, 2017
Special to suffredin.org

Cook County Health to buy piece of struggling insurer's Medicaid biz
Wednesday, September 20, 2017
Crain's Chicago Business

Chief judge names acting public guardian for Cook County
Wednesday, September 20, 2017
Chicago Tribune

Cook County sweetened beverage sales continue to decline
Tuesday, September 19, 2017
Chicago Sun-Times

New bond court rules take effect, but not much of an effect
Tuesday, September 19, 2017
Chicago Sun-Times

Bond court gets underway in Cook County with different judges, new guidelines
Monday, September 18, 2017
Chicago Tribune

Harwood Heights adds retail theft as ordinance violation
Monday, September 18, 2017

Cook County’s Homeland Security interim chief resigns
Monday, September 18, 2017
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County's social worker for the dead helps the unclaimed find final resting places
Monday, September 18, 2017
Chicago Tribune

After legal challenges, Cook County's court for unwed parents quietly goes away
Monday, September 18, 2017
Chicago Tribune

Welcome to Cook County, Mayor Bloomberg. You're getting played on the soda tax.
Friday, September 15, 2017
Chicago Tribune

Evans reshuffles bond court; meet the ‘Pretrial Division’
Friday, September 15, 2017
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

Editorial: The Cook County Board's legacy: Killing Cook County jobs
Friday, September 15, 2017
Chicago Tribune

If the soda tax were out of sight, would it be out of mind?
Friday, September 15, 2017
Chicago Tribune

Cook County Board delays showdown over soda tax until October 10, and other Chicago news
Thursday, September 14, 2017
Chicago Reader

City reports record number of Chicagoans with health insurance
Thursday, September 14, 2017
Crain's Chicago Business

Morning Spin: 10 key numbers in Cook County soda tax repeal debate
Wednesday, September 13, 2017
Chicago Tribune

all news items

Paid for by Larry Suffredin and not at taxpayer expense. A Haymarket Production.
^ TOP