Everyone is aware that next Tuesday, Nov. 4, is the date to vote for president of the United States. And many of us will be taking that time to vote for Senator Barack Obama for president. But there is another election as important to those of us living in Cook County as the vote for President-and that is the vote for Cook County state’s attorney.
According to the website of the current state’s attorney, this is the description of the job: “The State’s Attorney of Cook County is responsible for prosecuting all individuals charged with violating Illinois’ criminal laws within the county. The State’s Attorney … may appoint assistant state’s attorneys as his legal representatives. … Under Illinois law, the State’s Attorney is granted the exclusive authority to represent crime victims. … The duty of a prosecutor is to seek justice, not merely to convict. … In addition to his responsibilities for criminal prosecution, the State’s Attorney is charged with enforcing many civil laws that protect abused children, the elderly, the disabled, and consumers as well as laws that promote the public interest in the environment and the provision of utility services. The State’s Attorney also acts as legal counsel on civil law matters on behalf of Cook County government agencies and the county’s elected officials.”
When a person is arrested and charged with a crime, it is up to the State’s Attorney’s Office to prosecute. When the office is held by someone who doesn’t give a hoot, then suspects can be tortured and made to give false confessions, like what we are currently seeing with the people who were tortured by those under the command of Jon Burge and when Richard J. Daley, the current mayor of Chicago, was state’s attorney for Cook County. When people are arrested and held at Cook County Jail for years, it has a lot to do with the lack of creativity coming out of the State’s Attorney’s Office. We as a county are spending millions to house prisoners whose minor crime is that they can’t come up with bail money. When the state’s attorney takes years to finally bring someone to trial, what we have is a major waste of taxpayers dollars and continuous overcrowding at Cook County Jail.
Of the three candidates who are running, two are already members of the State’s Attorney Office, Anita Alvarez and Thomas O’Brien. Neither of them has put forth a campaign that says their tenure in the office would be anything other than more of the same.
The third candidate is Tony Peraica. We all got to meet the feisty Mr. Peraica when he ran for Cook County board president. Say what you will about him, he is an energetic character with an in-your-face feistiness that says his term as state’s attorney would be a change from the past. After watching the debates that aired between the three candidates, Mr. Peraica gets my vote.
Remember, vote on Nov. 4 and make sure you continue down the ballot to vote on the retention of judges. For a list of judges, who have been recommended for “yes” votes, visit my blog.