Preckwinkle mum on Foxx, bucks Lightfoot on crime policy

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“The president has not read the full report as of this moment, so we cannot comment at this time,” said the spokesman. “(We) will absolutely reach back out if there’s something to say from our end.”

When asked if Foxx still has the county president’s full support, the spokesman answered, "Yes."

Webb among other things charged that Foxx and aides made false or misleading statements about how much he could be fined, how long they were in touch with Foxx’s sister, whether Smollett had a previous criminal record and why the office abruptly dropped felony charges against him for allegedly faking an early morning, racially motivated attack.

Preckwinkle was more definitive in a related matter.

In a statement, the county chief made it clear that she disagrees with Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s call yesterday to stop releasing those charged with murder, carjacking and many gun offenses.

“Cook County shares the (mayor’s) commitment to urgently work together to address the conditions that are fueling this tragic surge in violence,” Preckwinkle said in the statement. “However, rather than what was offered earlier today, we simply cannot let fear and misinformation lead us to rash policy decisions.”

Preckwinkle and other criminal justice reformers, including Foxx, long have argued that it’s bad social policy to hold people in jail merely because they don’t have money to make bond. The decision on whether to release people ultimately is made by judges who report to Tim Evans, a Preckwinkle ally who serves as chief judge of Cook County Circuit Court.

In her statement, Preckwinkle said fewer than 5% of those arrested on felony gun charges are rearrested on new charges while free on electronic monitors. “The justice system must be based on a shared understanding that balances the safety, stability and long-term success of our residents and communities,” she said.

But the city and the Chicago Police Department have disagreed, and Lightfoot yesterday went public with what amounted to a near demand to end the policy.

“If you are charged with killing someone, taking a vehicle at gunpoint, or violence against someone in your home or theirs—for these people, I absolutely believe they should be locked up pending trial, because they are a demonstrated ‘real and present threat to the physical safety’ of people and community, as defined under Illinois law,” Lightfoot said in her speech.

In fact, 2,300 alleged offenders awaiting trial on such charges now are on the street, Lightfoot said. “It defies common sense, it is not safe, and this practice must be stopped immediately.”

Lightfoot and Preckwinkle have repeatedly jostled since Lightfoot defeated Preckwinkle in the 2019 mayoral election.

Foxx has argued that judges make the decisions on who to release, even though prosecutors can make a case for confinement in pre-release hearings. She’s also denied the charges in Webb’s report, saying her office used and did not abuse its prosecutorial discretion in the Smollett case.

via Crain’s Chicago Business

December 21, 2021 at 04:32PM

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