11 Mar Restore Justice Illinois Endorses Kim Foxx for Cook County State’s Attorney
Restore Justice Illinois is making its first ever endorsement in the Cook County, Illinois State’s Attorney race. We are endorsing Kim Foxx because she is the best choice for the vast majority of Illinoisans.
As the founder of Restore Justice Illinois, I’ve spent soul-rending hours in courtrooms watching prosecutors, defenders, and judges rush through a choreographed process designed to quickly address the real or perceived offenses of a large number of people. I’ve watched these people be denied even the most basic human courtesy, not to mention their own dignity and liberty, because none of the stakeholders have patience to deal with their messiness, their mistakes, their lack of understanding, or, God forbid, their lack of perfect decorum.
My guess is prosecutors, defenders, and judges do not wake up in the morning intolerant or hostile to the people they serve. They do, however, wake up to face the chaos of a system overwhelmed by people who fundamentally don’t belong in a criminal justice setting.
Since the law enforcement system is basically the only system we have to deal with human conflict, mental health incidents, and poverty-related behaviors, we have to maintain the courtroom choreography, and we can’t afford to slow down or pause. But the callouses that have grown on the agents of this process create a real problem when a serious crime needs sorting out.
If we want to reduce unnecessary cases in the system, there are only a few elected leaders who can take steps that matter. And the top potential change agent in this regard is the top prosecutor.
Foxx is the first leader in Cook County law enforcement to seriously reduce the number of insignificant cases calcifying the system. A lot of people don’t like her right now because, in reducing prosecutions, she has stopped pandering to people who want to be told they can be safer if the bad elements in our communities are kept out or locked up.
Safety is a word that conjures all sorts of expectations in humans. The people who Foxx has stopped pandering to are rightly concerned about their property, their safety from theft, and drug-related crimes. But at Restore Justice Illinois, we are worried about the safety of people who are wrongfully or overzealously prosecuted in courtrooms designed to move cases quickly and with minimal depth.
While she may have mishandled the Smollett case, a case that harmed no one but Smollett himself, it seems, she was busy competently handling the absurd and gut-wrenching work of undoing decades of mistakes made by her predecessors. Those mistakes of the past have cost you, the taxpayer, millions and millions of dollars in lawsuit settlements. These are cases where prosecutorial overreach and law enforcement corruption was so egregious, there is literally no amount of money that could make up for the decades innocent people spent behind bars. The cost of the Smollett case to taxpayers is dwarfed by the cost of payouts to dozens of people who were wrongfully convicted by Foxx’s predecessors.
At Restore Justice Illinois, we focus on cases where people, real people like you and me, are at risk of losing their freedom due to a conviction for a serious crime. If someone is going to be taken away and put in a cell for the rest of their lives, we, as a society, should be damn sure they are both guilty and culpable, and that they are incapable of any sort of rehabilitation. Freedom should be the norm in our society, and it should be really hard to take that away. We should apply every resource we have to making sure we find the truth before we threaten freedom.
But, for decades, Cook County prosecutors have not done that. They created what should be our state’s largest humiliation: our reputation as the wrongful conviction capital of the nation. They prosecuted kids with no priors as though they were Jeffry Dahmer. They fought to take discretion away from judges so individual situations could not be sorted out by a human, but rather, measured against an arbitrary and easily misinterpreted set of statutes.
This endorsement comes from people who have been on the wrong end of overzealous, corrupt, or rushed prosecutions, people who have lost decades of their lives or their children’s lives. We are not talking about petty crime here. We are talking about our own lives and the lives of our children. We want a prosecutor who is committed to the long, hard work of undoing the wrongs of the past, while freeing the good people in every courtroom, every day, to do the job the way it should be done.
We have done our homework and looked at Foxx’s competitors in the primary. They do not have the background, nor have they stated the intention, to meaningfully change a system that could rob any one of us of our freedom. We’re not willing to take that chance.
– Jobi Cates, Restore Justice Illinois Founder