Suffredin- Changing County Government  
 

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.

   
  Cook County has the largest unified trial court system in the world, disposing over 6 million cases in 1990 alone.
   
     
     
     



A former prosecutor comes to the defense of Cook County's criminal justice system

Friday, July 01, 2016
Crain's Chicago Business

Nicole Gonzalez Van Cleve, inher June 14 guest essay, provides a slanted view of the criminal justice system in Cook County that does a disservice to the hundreds of law enforcement personnel who work every day to apprehend and prosecute criminals in our community. In addition, her sweeping generalities shed little light on the real problems that exist in the system.

It is admittedly an imperfect system because human beings are involved. There are mistakes that should be corrected and some bad apples that should be removed. But the great majority of police officers, prosecutors and judges strive to see that those breaking the law, especially violent criminals, are held accountable for their misdeeds.

Van Cleve begins by referring to photos of convicted criminals on the wall in the gang crimes unit of the Cook County state's attorney's office. From her description, one might think these are photos of young men on their way to choir practice who were unfairly arrested and ramrodded through the system by ruthless police and uncaring prosecutors.

The reality is that those pictured are, for the most part, hard-core gang members who went to prison for murdering or maiming other young men and women, most of them minorities. The photos serve as a reminder of the carnage visited on our community by street gangs. Interestingly, there is another wall at Chicago police headquarters that displays the badges of all officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty.

Later in her column, Van Cleve opines that the convictions are not seen as “human tragedies” but “prizes to be won.” Of course, these are human tragedies, not because street thugs have been convicted but because innocent lives have been lost, often for no or little reason.

The author then notes that the entire legal culture “often acted in criminal ways.” As support for this conclusion, she mentions rude judges, practical jokes and bullying of a public defender. These may be things to be noted and corrected, but they are far from criminal acts.

Van Cleve refers to surveys that show some prosecutors and judges believe that police perjury in criminal cases has occurred. This is a legitimate issue but must be placed in context. With the hundreds of cases that are tried every year, it would be foolish to say that some officers didn't tell less than the full truth on the stand, just as it would be foolish to say that parties in divorce cases have never lied or that academics have never submitted articles supported by invalid data. In any large group of people, there will be some who cross the line, whether they be defendants, judges, prosecutors, defense lawyers or witnesses. The challenge is to address what can be done as a system to make the line-crossing less frequent.

In fact,when I was state's attorney, our prosecutors, including supervisors, brought to my attention a number of cases where they believed police officers had lied, and we acted on that information. This included theSpecial Operations Sectionthat was acting outside the law. Their misdeeds were discovered by assistant state's attorneys, and several officers eventually were prosecuted.

There are a number of serious problems in the criminal justice system worthy of our attention and discussion. They include witness identifications through lineups or photo arrays; multiple continuances that delay justice for both defendant and victim; factors in pretrial detention; the scope of prosecutorial discretion; and the method for selecting judges. Unfortunately, Van Cleve is content to slam the justice system with broad generalities that do little to advance the debate on legitimate issues.

Richard Devine was Cook County state's attorney from 1996 to 2008. He is now of counsel at Chicago law firm Cozen O'Connor.



Recent Headlines

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

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

Preckwinkle apologizes to woman berated by man at forest preserve for wearing Puerto Rican flag shirt
Tuesday, July 10, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Video appears to show forest preserves officer failing to help woman being harassed for wearing shirt with Puerto Rican flag design
Tuesday, July 10, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Could blockchain technology transform homebuying in Cook County — and beyond?
Monday, July 09, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Forest Preserves probe cop’s response to Puerto Rican harassment complaint
Monday, July 09, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

all news items

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