2020 State’s Attorney Questionnaire

1.  Do you support stopping the prosecution of low level, non-violent drug offenses? Why or why not? 

This is no coincidence. Our criminal justice system has treated drug offenders, non-violent, and the mentally ill as if they are violent offenders. When I took office, we decided a change needed to take place.

We prioritized violent crime and keeping our communities safe, rather than using resources to prosecute non-violent, low-level offenders. In shifting the priorities we refused to prosecute retail theft under $1,000 as a felony so that we could put more resources into actually pursuing violent crimes that are making our communities unsafe. Additionally, we look to seek diversion sentencing, when appropriate, for low-level non-violent offenses versus a jail sentence. To be clear, we are still holding everyone accountable, but we must continue to prioritize violent crimes which still have the largest impact on public safety.

2. Do you support closing Homan Square Detention Center? Why or why not? 

I support Constitutional policing practices. I don’t believe that having facilities that deny the accused access to counsel, or engage in unconstitutional police practices should exist. 

3. Do you support bringing criminal charges against police officers who falsify or file misleading official reports? Why or why not? 

Yes, Police officers should be investigated and prosecuted in the same way that all defendants are prosecuted. 

4. Do you support expunging ALL cannabis convictions? Why or why not? 

I believe we should not continue to criminalize low-level non-violent cannabis convictions. Before the first ever legalized cannabis product was sold on January 1, 2020, in December we made sure that we were moved to expunge over 1,000 low-level marijuana offenders, offering them the fresh start they deserve. There are still hundreds of thousands of low-level marijuana convictions that still need to be expunged. We have to admit that the war on drugs failed and over criminalized, black brown and poor communities, and make sure we are vigilant in correcting those wrongs..

5. Do you support reinstating a parole system for Illinois residents? Why or why not? 

I support reinstating parole time to allow an opportunity to assess an inmates ability to re-enter the community and be released. Simply relying on “good time credit” often times leads to people being incarcerated well beyond any useful purpose. An ongoing review is in the interest of ensuring that people are not needlessly incarcerated.

6. Do you support ending the incarceration of youth (ages 25 and under)? Why or why not? 

Incarceration should be used as a measure of last resort for “youthful offenders” (under 25). I believe that several factors must be evaluated, including the nature of the offense, the availability of resources in the community, and the individual needs of the defendant.

Please Note: Pat O’Brien did not complete our survey. Direct quotes taken from the Daily Herald’s debate.

1.  Do you support stopping the prosecution of low level, non-violent drug offenses? Why or Why not? 

The problem isn’t ignoring nonviolent drug offenses; the problem is understanding that there are appropriate consequences…. If they are charged, you can in fact get them through a program into treatment.”

2. Do you support closing Homan Square Detention Center? Why or why not? 

N/A

3. Do you support bringing criminal charges against police officers who falsify or file misleading official reports? Why or why not? 

“Any officer, when I’m States Attorney, that commits any violation of crime, whether it’s a financial crime or unlawful excessive force will be prosecuted. Good police will be supported, bad police will be prosecuted.”

4. Do you support expunging ALL cannabis convictions? Why or why not? 

N/A

5. Do you support reinstating a parole system for Illinois residents? Why or why not?

N/A

6. Do you support ending the incarceration of youth (ages 25 and under)? Why or why not? 

N/A