Suffredin- For a Better Cook County  
 

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 first blood bank in the world was established at Cook County Hospital by Dr. Bernard Fantus in 1937.
   
     
     
     



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

Preckwinkle, Evans end budget battle
Wednesday, July 18, 2018
Crain's Chicago Business

How Transparent and Accountable Are Chicago, Cook County Governments?
Wednesday, July 18, 2018
WTTW Chicago Tonight

2 Cook County courthouses to close, employees spared layoffs under budget settlement: officials
Wednesday, July 18, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Troubled detainee at center of unusual court fight between Loyola hospital, Cook County
Monday, July 16, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Cook County Commissioners Confounded by Hiring of Health System Consultant
Monday, July 16, 2018
WBEZ Chicago Public Radio

Doctor fired by Cook County medical examiner now under the microscope in Indiana
Sunday, July 15, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

County officials defend Forest Preserves police in wake of man harassing woman over Puerto Rican flag shirt
Friday, July 13, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Familiar questions about ‘bystander effect’ arise after man berates woman for Puerto Rico shirt
Friday, July 13, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Berrios' analysts used Zillow, other shortcuts in assessing property values, documents show
Friday, July 13, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Northbrook to revisit Cook County paid sick leave policy after opting out last year
Friday, July 13, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Cook County Forest Preserves officials discuss officer's resignation
Friday, July 13, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Amid video fallout, Cook County Forest Preserve District reveals fatal crash involving worker and governmental truck
Friday, July 13, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Transformation in the outdoors
Friday, July 13, 2018
Special to suffredin.org

Forest preserve cop resigns after apparently failing to help woman being harassed over Puerto Rico shirt
Thursday, July 12, 2018
Chicago Tribune

5 things: A civics lesson on Puerto Rico after man rants about woman's flag T-shirt, questions citizenship
Thursday, July 12, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Cook County Commissioners: Get Rid of Forest Preserve Police
Thursday, July 12, 2018
WTTW Chicago Tonight

Schneider wants hearing over fatal crash blamed on Cook forest preserve driver
Thursday, July 12, 2018
Daily Herald

Man who harassed woman for Puerto Rican flag shirt charged with hate crime
Thursday, July 12, 2018
WLS ABC 7 Chicago

EDITORIAL: A judge drops a gun on a courthouse floor. So much for respect for the law
Thursday, July 12, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

Forest preserve officer who didn't help woman in Puerto Rican flag shirt 'tarnished the whole department,' commissioner says
Thursday, July 12, 2018
Chicago Tribune

all news items

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