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Our State's atty will be deeply missed. God bless you Kim!

First off, I'd like to extend my thanks to Chicago Boss Tony Preckwinkle, who personally selected Kim to be her Chief of Staff and then elevated her to State's Atty. By elevated, I mean she endorsed her as a candidate, ran her fundraising in the same glorious manner, she picked her 2nd protege Brandon Johnson to be our Mayor.


Kim has worked tirelessly to stand up for gang criminals and thugs who've made Chicago a more racially diverse place to get your car jacked. She's also become a sharp dresser!


Best of luck in your future endeavors! I look forward to your landing at some high paying woke think tank and taking up residence as a guest speaker on CNBC.


State’s Attorney Kim Foxx won’t seek 3rd term

Chosen twice by voters to be Cook County’s top prosecutor by wide margins, Foxx faced near-constant criticism for her office’s progressive policy choices and their perceived impact on crime in Chicago.

By Matthew Hendrickson, Fran Spielman and Andy Grimm , Suntimes

Apr 25, 2023, 1:06pm CDT



Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx announces Tuesday she will not seek reelection during a speech at a City Club of Chicago luncheon at Maggiano’s Banquets in River North.


After serving two terms marked by near-constant criticism of her policies and handling of high-profile cases, Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx announced Tuesday she will not seek reelection.


“I leave now with my head held high, with my heart full,” Foxx said as she concluded a speech to the City Club of Chicago.


Foxx said she informed Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson of her decision Monday and called him “the man of the moment” whose election reminds her of her own first win in 2016.


“I told Mayor-elect Johnson as a black man in leadership that his role would be very difficult,” Foxx said. “You have to keep going. But know what’s coming. His responsibility is to do the work with the full knowledge that it’s not going to be fair … but he has a job to do and elevate the voices of the people who put him there. “


Chosen twice by voters to be the county’s top prosecutor by wide margins, Foxx was criticized over her office’s progressive policy choices and their perceived impact on crime in Chicago.


Those attacks came not only from conservatives and police, but also from outgoing Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot who was faced with a spike in shootings and murders during the pandemic.


Foxx has said being raised by a single mother while living in the Cabrini-Green public housing development helped shape her outlook as a prosecutor. During high school, Foxx said her family was homeless for a time and frequently moved between apartments.


Foxx worked in the public guardian’s office after college before being hired as an assistant state’s attorney. She went on to serve as chief of staff to Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle before running for state’s attorney.


In 2016, Foxx became the first Black woman to lead the office after beating former State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez in the Democratic primary by promising to do things differently amid outrage over the murder of teenager Laquan McDonald by former Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke.



Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx hugs Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle before speaking Tuesday to the City Club of Chicago.Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Foxx promised a more strategic approach to fighting violent crime and was among the first wave of reform-minded prosecutors to be elected in big cities, including Philadelphia and later, San Francisco.


Foxx’s stated goals of focusing on violent crime prosecutions over lower-level felonies and misdemeanors led to her first major clash with police and widespread criticism of her decision-making with her handling of the Jussie Smollett case.


The rising young actor was charged with lying to the police when he claimed to have been the victim of a homophobic and racist attack in January 2019 near his Streeterville apartment.


Foxx recused herself from the case the following month, with her office saying she had “conversations with a family member of Jussie Smollett” and “facilitated a connection to the Chicago Police Department who were investigating the incident” before the actor was charged.


Her office dropped all charges against the actor in a deal that saw him forfeit his $10,000 bond to the city of Chicago (now a subject of the actor’s appeal of his conviction) — but did not require him to admit any wrongdoing.


Flanked by family members, supporters, attorneys and bodyguards, “Empire” star Jussie Smollett walks out of the Leighton Criminal Courthouse as the jury deliberates Wednesday afternoon.

Flanked by family members, supporters, attorneys and bodyguards, “Empire” star Jussie Smollett walks out of the Leighton Criminal Courthouse in December 2021.Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

The case would dog Foxx through her reelection campaign, particularly after a special prosecutor was appointed to review the state’s attorney’s office’s decision. The report issued by that special prosecutor, former U.S attorney Dan Webb, found no criminal conduct by Foxx, but it said the state’s attorney and her office committed “substantial abuses of discretion” in disposing of the case.


RELATED

READ: Sun-Times coverage of the Jussie Smollett case

Foxx handily beat her primary challengers, including former prosecutor Bill Conway, and in the general election, easily defeated a tough-on-crime Republican challenger, former Circuit Judge Pat O’Brien.


O’Brien said Tuesday he was taken aback by Foxx’s decision.


“Having stood next to her at various forums back in 2020, I’ve always been impressed with her political abilities. She enjoys the trappings of being state’s attorney. Who knows? Maybe there’s another job out there that has those particular kinds of perks that would make her want not to run on this. But, to me, on the campaign trail, it’s something she seemed to relish,” O’Brien said.


Dan Kirk served as chief of staff and top assistant to Alvarez, who was unseated by Foxx.


Kirk said he anticipated Foxx would call it quits.


“She’s had quite a rough go because of a lot of unforced errors, to be honest. A lot of stumbles that didn’t have to happen. It seems obvious to me that the job has just proven to be beyond her capabilities and not a job that’s well-suited for her,” Kirk told the Sun-Times.


“A person who holds the position of Cook County state’s attorney, they have to be full mind, body, blood, sweat and tears committed to it in order to do the job. And if you’re anything less than that, it can be an unpleasant existence,” Kirk said. “I don’t presume to know what’s going on inside of Kim Foxx’s head. I haven’t talked to her in years. But I can only speculate that, if you’re not fully committed to it, it’s not the job for you.”


Former Cook County Commissioner Richard Boykin

Former Cook County Commissioner Richard Boykin said of Kim Foxx’s tenure: “I think she’s contributed what she can.”Sun-Times file photo

Former Cook County Commissioner Richard Boykin noted Foxx served as state’s attorney during a tumultuous time that included the stay-at-home shutdown triggered by the pandemic, the civil unrest and looting after the murder of George Floyd and the surge in violent crime that followed both of those events.


“Today is a day to express our appreciation to Kim Foxx for her sacrifice and her service as state’s attorney. These jobs are very difficult jobs. And in the current climate, it’s a very difficult climate with all of the violence. It’s raging in Cook County. People feel unsafe. I think she’s done what she can do. She’s contributed what she can, and she’s sacrificed her family in the same way during this period because it’s a big job,” Boykin said.


“Public safety ... requires a collaborative approach,” said Boykin. “You have the Chicago Police Department that you have to work hand-in-glove with. You have the mayor’s office. You have to work with the Cook County Sheriff’s Police. You have the Cook County Board president. You have all of these different mayors in Cook County that you have to work with in a collaborative way to make sure that victims of violence and victims of crime are being represented. You work with the people. You seek advice from different stakeholders. You try to do the best job you can. But obviously, nobody’s perfect.”


Former 2nd Ward Ald. Bob Fioretti ran for state’s attorney against Foxx in 2020 and finished with just 5% in a four-way Democratic primary that included Donna More and Conway, now a newly elected member of the City Council.


Fioretti said he was not surprised Foxx would call it quits, given the mass exodus in the state’s attorney’s office.


“That office has been a disaster. And it’s not run by Kim Foxx. It’s run by Toni Preckwinkle. The morale in that office is at an all-time low. People are leaving in droves,” Fioretti said.


Attorney Josh Tepfer handles wrongful conviction cases for the University of Chicago Law School’s Exoneration Project. He was headed to the City Club on Tuesday with Clarissa Glenn, whose conviction for a drug arrest tainted by the involvement of corrupt Chicago Police Sgt. Ronald Watts was one of many thrown out by Foxx’s office. That includes 17 cases tossed at a single 2017 hearing Tepfer said was the first “mass exoneration” in Cook County history. Tepfer said his invitation to the luncheon came from Foxx’s office, a first.


“There is still a lot of work to be done,” Tepfer said as he pulled up to Maggiano’s Little Italy for Tuesday’s luncheon.


Flint Taylor talks to reporters outside the Leighton Criminal Courthouse in October 2020. Behind him is Jackie Wilson, a torture survivor of late CPD Cmndr. Jon Burge. Charges were dropped against Wilson amid his third trial in the fatal shooting of two Chicago police officers, after the discovery that an sassistant in the Cook County state’s attorney’s office concealed a witness.


Attorney and activist Flint Taylor has battled the state’s attorney’s office over wrongful convictions and civil rights cases dating to his days as a lawyer for the Black Panthers and other counterculture groups in the 1960s. He said Tuesday that Foxx’s tenure included much-needed reforms to how prosecutors handled allegations of police misconduct and bond and charging decisions.


“I feel like she met a tremendous and unprecedented amount of resistance from the Fraternal Order of Police and CPD and faced a very adversarial culture within the State’s Attorney’s Office,” Taylor said Tuesday. “She had to fight that culture and all the lawyers on her staff who had defended so long the practices that led to wrongful convictions and mass incarceration. She took that on in good faith and made some good strides.”


That said, Taylor said he was not entirely surprised if Foxx tired of fighting those reform battles, especially when she was consistently bludgeoned by critics for her handling of the Smollett case.


“(Smollett) was a distraction, an excuse that a white supremacist power structure used against her, even though it didn’t amount to much in the grand scheme of the corruption around police misconduct and mass incarceration. But that was a sword her enemies used.”



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