Democratic Cook County State’s Attorney Kimberly M. Foxx is to serve her second term in the Office of the Cook County State’s Attorney, as Foxx took a reelection victory lap on November 4, 2020, against Republican former Cook County Judge Patrick W. O’Brien, and Libertarian candidate Brian Dennehy.
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Election and Results
The unofficial tally of the electoral votes showed that State’s Attorney Kim Foxx had garnered 54%, withstanding a major challenge to former Judge O’Brien’s approximately 40% out of the 98% precincts report at the end of November 3, 2020. Candidate Dennehy was said to have received about 7% in votes. The victory of State’s Attorney Kim Foxx is to be attributed to the approximately 560,000 votes she has garnered from her Chicago supporters, in contrast to the unofficial tally showing only about 263,000 votes in Chicago for former Judge Pat O’Brien. The number of votes in Chicago is also being ascribed to the overwhelming support to the Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.
Statements from State’s Attorney Foxx
Winning the election for the Cook County State’s Attorney, Kim Foxx extends her gratitude to her supporters for allowing her a second term in the office, promising to continue criminal justice reforms designed to keep the communities of Cook County safe. “We have a lot of people who have found themselves victims of violent crime who then also pick up a gun. We shouldn’t wait for someone to get hurt before we invest in making sure that people are whole and healthy,” said Cook County State’s Attorney Foxx. She further assures that as State’s Attorney, she will continue solving crimes with an introspective look at how the trauma will also manifest in the communities – an effort that shall continue to guide Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx through her additional four years in the Office.
Throughout her first term beginning in 2016, Foxx has consistently put forward that changing the system is the goal. She eagerly called for a systematic change and was deemed as one of a slate of progressive prosecutors nationwide. Prior to entering the Office, State’s Attorney Kim Foxx had heavily criticized Democratic incumbent Anita Alvarez, who Foxx beat in the primary. Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx raised her concerns regarding the one-year delayed case of police Officer Jason Van Dyke, who was responsible for the death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald.
Criticisms of State’s Attorney Foxx’s Work
Like any other, Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx also faced criticisms, particularly over the rising of violent crime throughout the year of 2020, as well as the apparent handling of the Jussie Smollett case. State’s Attorney Foxx admits that the Office had rooms for improvement, addressing the criticisms for the former “Empire” actor’s case. As such, she assures that the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office will deliver a criminal justice system that equally serves “the everyday citizen,” paying no attention to social titles. State’s Attorney Foxx also noted that the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office’s sweeping bail reforms had effectively reduced and combatted violent crime during the first three years of her term, showing a significant decrease in the number of incidents involving violent crimes.
Host Ernest Fenton notes that Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx is both a skin folk and a kinfolk. “All of our skin folk ain’t our kinfolk, but you certainly are skin folk and kinfolk,” said Fenton, to which State’s Attorney Foxx replied declaring that as the county’s first Black woman top prosecutor and public servant, she fully commits to ensuring that communities are well, and seriously represented. She states that Cook County’s criminal justice shall treat Black and Latino people fairer.
Candidate Pat O’Brien
Former Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney and Judge, Pat O’Brien, had a tough-on-crime approach on this year’s election, particularly emphasizing the concerns regarding the 50% increase of shooting and homicides in the City of Chicago, which got the city in the list of one of the most violent years of the last quarter-century. With this stand, Pat O’Brien criticized Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, claiming that she has endangered public safety by letting offenders walk free. He demonstrated this claim by putting forward the scandal of the former “Empire” actor, where it was said that 16 felony counts against Smollett had been dropped, after being charged with faking a hate crime against himself. O’Brien conceded on the night of November 3, 2020. He expressed his hope to find the County in a better position as compared to where it is currently. “We did what we could, and maybe some good will come of this,” O’Brien said, ending his short statement saying “We gave it our best shot.”
Additional Information on Cook County State’s Attorney Kimberly M. Foxx
Kimberly M. Foxx is the first African-American woman to lead the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office. She earned her undergraduate degree of Bachelor in Arts in Political Science in the Southern Illinois University, subsequently receiving her Juris Doctorate from the Southern Illinois University – School of Law.
State’s Attorney Foxx was an Assistant State’s Attorney for approximately 12 years prior to her service as a State’s Attorney. Moreover, she was a guardian ad litem – serving as an attorney who advocated for children who were currently navigating the child welfare system. She also served for the Cook County Board President as a Chief of Staff, where she was responsible for managing the structure and leading the County’s criminal justice reform agenda to address racial disparities in the criminal and juvenile justice systems.
State’s Attorney Foxx Achievements in Previous Term
On December 1, 2016, Cook County State’s Attorney Kimberly M. Foxx took office with the hope to transform the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office into a more fair, and forward-thinking law enforcement agency, with a vision to also focus on rebuilding public trust, switching to proactive measures to ensure public safety, and promoting transparency.
In line with her goals, State’s Attorney Foxx pioneers fostering transparency by becoming the first and only prosecutor in the United States that have allowed felony case-level data available to the public. This open data portal provides unprecedented access into the work of a prosecutor’s office, which is a step closer to the State’s Attorney’s Foxx’s goal of making Cook County the most transparent prosecutor’s office in the United States.
During her first term as the Cook County State’s Attorney, Kim Foxx has managed to tackle and achieve substantial criminal justice reforms, specifically targeting public safety and equity. Throughout the four years of her term, she was able to lead the bond reform, securing recognizance bonds for low-level, non-violent offenders. The bond reform mandates prosecutors to impose recognizance bonds where appropriate, which allows low-level, non-violent offenders to be detained when they are unable to pay bonds of $1,000 or less. Aligned with this bond reform is the shift of focus from low-level offenses to violent crime cases within the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, where the threshold for approving felony charges for retail theft is raised to a maximum of $1,000, as well as declining to prosecute misdemeanor traffic offenses for failure to pay tickets and fines.
In addition to her bond reform, Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx also played a vital role in the passing of legislation to legalize cannabis, whilst working to provide the most extensive and impartial conviction relief, as it is a critical part of bringing justice to the actions of offenders and giving restoration to the communities of color who have been disproportionately harmed by the failed war on drugs. With this, State’s Attorney Foxx offers a statement of her values and commitment to justice for all.
As the Cook County State’s Attorney, Foxx has also managed to reconstruct and improve the State’s Attorney’s Office – Conviction Integrity Unit, which resulted in over 80 overturned cases. One of the charges revoked in this plan of action includes the first-ever mass exoneration in Cook County for 15 men who were a victim of wrongful accusations following the misconduct of a Chicago Police Officer.
Continuing with her second term and the additional four years of serving the citizens of Cook County, State’s Attorney Kimberly M. Foxx asserts that the Office will consistently pursue criminal justice reform efforts, with a focus on public safety and equity.
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