Suffredin- Changing County Government  

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:  

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


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

  The Cook County Forest Preserve District maintains over 70 miles of bicycle trails.

Prosecutor Alvarez creates team to probe wrongful conviction claims

Friday, February 03, 2012


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

Northbrook will revisit Cook County minimum wage ordinance in May
Sunday, November 18, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Suffredin: County to seek 'safeguards' for golf course road
Friday, November 16, 2018
Evanston NOW

She's been waiting 15 months for her rape kit to be processed. A new proposal to track evidence aims to change that.
Wednesday, November 14, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Preckwinkle to unveil policy roadmap for Cook County for next five years
Wednesday, November 14, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

U.S. appeals judges: Go fight over lawsuits with Dorothy Brown in state court
Tuesday, November 13, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

COMMENTARY: Here's how the Shakman case curbed Cook County patronage
Tuesday, November 13, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Appeals court backs Dorothy Brown in lawsuit over public access to electronic records, says judge overstepped authority
Tuesday, November 13, 2018
Chicago Tribune

What’s Next As Voters Overwhelmingly Support Higher Minimum Wage, Paid Sick Time
Monday, November 12, 2018
Journal and Topics Online

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle's security chief fired after review spurred by watchdog report
Thursday, November 08, 2018
Chicago Tribune

An earlier opening day: 2019 Cook County forest preserves permits go on sale Nov. 15
Thursday, November 08, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Cook County opening 2019 picnic permit sales Nov. 15
Monday, November 05, 2018
Special to

The Cook County Land Bank looks to go commercial
Monday, November 05, 2018
RE Journal

Nov. 15 is new opening date for Cook County forest preserves permits
Monday, November 05, 2018
Daily Herald

Cook County Gun Dealer, Minimum Wage Referendums On Ballot
Monday, November 05, 2018

The Abandoned WWI Monument One Chicago Man Is Determined To Save
Friday, November 02, 2018
Chicago Patch

Cook County freed from federal oversight
Thursday, November 01, 2018
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

First-of-its-kind trauma recovery center serves survivors of domestic violence, hate crimes, sexual assault, gun violence in Cook County
Monday, October 29, 2018

Northbrook opts in to Cook County paid sick leave ordinance, more uncertainty for employers, lawyer says
Monday, October 29, 2018
Cook County Record

First-of-its-kind Advocate Trauma Recovery Center serves survivors of domestic violence, hate crimes, sexual assault, gun violence in Cook County
Monday, October 29, 2018
WLS Channel 7

Cook County sheriff, CVS team up on safe prescription painkiller disposal
Saturday, October 27, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

all news items

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