CRACKING DOWN ON GANG AND GUN VIOLENCE

The Issues

Anita Alvarez on the Issues

During her first term as State’s Attorney, Anita has moved to make sweeping changes in the functions and the mission of the State’s Attorney’s Office. She has made great strides for the residents of Cook County on a number of levels and she has delivered on all of the promises that she made to the voters during her campaign:

The problem of violence on our streets is fueled by many social and economic factors and the solution must involve all of us."

News

Alvarez on the Issues

Gang & Gun Violence

CRACKING DOWN ON GANG AND GUN VIOLENCE

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Anita proposed and drafted a new law that increases criminal penalties for street gang members who are arrested by police with loaded weapons. The measure was signed into law in December of 2009 and is currently in effect throughout the State of Illinois. The new...

Anita proposed and drafted a new law that increases criminal penalties for street gang members who are arrested by police with loaded weapons. The measure was signed into law in December of 2009 and is currently in effect throughout the State of Illinois. The new law was named in honor of slain Chicago Police Officer Alejandro Valadez, who was killed in June of 2009 in a drive-by shooting. Defendants convicted under the new law are now given a mandatory prison sentence instead of being eligible for parole. Hundreds of street gang members have been charged under the new law and nearly 90 percent of those cases have resulted in convictions.

Anita returned to the courtroom for the first time since her election as State’s Attorney to personally prosecute the offenders who have been charged with the murder of Officer Valadez. She secured a guilty verdict in the jury trial of the first defendant in September of 2011 and the trials against the two remaining defendants are pending.

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Human Trafficking

PROTECT CHILDREN WITH NEW HUMAN TRAFFICKING INITIATIVE

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Recognizing the growing crime of the sexual trafficking of young children, Anita formed a dedicated unit within the State’s Attorney’s Office to target and intensively investigate this crime, an increasing problem throughout the United States and in Cook County. As part of these efforts, Anita...

Recognizing the growing crime of the sexual trafficking of young children, Anita formed a dedicated unit within the State’s Attorney’s Office to target and intensively investigate this crime, an increasing problem throughout the United States and in Cook County.

As part of these efforts, Anita also drafted the Illinois Safe Children’s Act, one of the most sweeping pieces of legislation enacted into law in the nation aimed at safeguarding and protecting children who are forced into a life of prostitution.

Dozens of offenders have now been charged with human trafficking crimes since the passage of the new law and with the help of the new legislation, Anita announced charges against 10 Chicago street gang members in the nation’s first-ever state based wiretap investigation targeting the crime of human trafficking. “Operation Little Girl Lost” targeted street gang members who sex-trafficked children and young women, some as young as 12 years old, to sell their sexual services on the streets or the internet as a commodity.

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Public Corruption

STEPPED UP EFFORTS TO TACKLE PUBLIC CORRUPTION:

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At the outset of her administration, Anita hired a veteran federal prosecutor to help lead efforts to investigate and prosecute cases involving financial, government and public corruption. She reorganized the public corruption and financial crimes units and made fundamental changes to help foster more new...

At the outset of her administration, Anita hired a veteran federal prosecutor to help lead efforts to investigate and prosecute cases involving financial, government and public corruption. She reorganized the public corruption and financial crimes units and made fundamental changes to help foster more new case referrals and to enhance partnerships with investigative partners at the federal, state and local levels. As a result of these changes, the State’s Attorney’s Special Prosecutions Bureau has achieved significant improvements in the number and the nature of the public corruption and white collar cases being prosecuted by the office.

More than 90 defendants have been indicted on public corruption and professional standards cases since State’s Attorney Alvarez assumed office.

Anita also launched “Operation Cookie Jar,” an ongoing effort to target public or government employees who have violated the public trust at the local level, including thefts from park districts, local village boards and township government. This ongoing initiative has already resulted in multiple Class X sentences against defendants.

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Integrity Unit

CREATION OF STATE’S ATTORNEY’S FIRST EVER “CONVICTION INTEGRITY UNIT”

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Anita recently announced creation of the Cook County State’s Attorney’s “Conviction Integrity Unit,” a specialized unit within the office that will bring a new emphasis and focus on the review of cases involving questionable convictions. The Unit will review post-conviction cases and focus specially on...

Anita recently announced creation of the Cook County State’s Attorney’s “Conviction Integrity Unit,” a specialized unit within the office that will bring a new emphasis and focus on the review of cases involving questionable convictions. The Unit will review post-conviction cases and focus specially on cases that have evidence similar to others that have led to wrongful or questionable convictions. In announcing the new unit, State’s Attorney Alvarez had this to say: “With the creation of this unit I am demonstrating my commitment to bringing our very best efforts to ensure that only guilty people are convicted here in Cook County. And if we have any reason to believe that we have prosecuted or are prosecuting someone who is actually innocent, we will continue to take immediate steps to investigate the matter fully to see that justice is served.”

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Restoring Trust

RESTORING TRUST BETWEEN COMMUNITIES AND LAW ENFORCEMENT

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Without any additional staffing or funding, Anita delivered on her promise to restore the concept of community-based prosecutions in the office, opening four new “Community Justice Centers” in the city of Chicago and suburbs to enable prosecutors to work more closely with community residents on...

Without any additional staffing or funding, Anita delivered on her promise to restore the concept of community-based prosecutions in the office, opening four new “Community Justice Centers” in the city of Chicago and suburbs to enable prosecutors to work more closely with community residents on issues that directly affect the community’s quality of life.

The new Community Justice Centers are staffed by Assistant State’s Attorneys and Victim Witness Specialists who work closely with community residents and organizations on the prosecution and prevention of local crime.

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Women & Violence

VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN: PROMISES MADE, PROMISES KEPT

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Tackling the many issues surrounding domestic violence has been one of Anita’s top priorities and she has worked to develop an approach that not only involves effective prosecution of domestic violence cases, but also increases the services and quality of assistance that is provided to...

Tackling the many issues surrounding domestic violence has been one of Anita’s top priorities and she has worked to develop an approach that not only involves effective prosecution of domestic violence cases, but also increases the services and quality of assistance that is provided to victims of this horrific crime.

Under Anita’s leadership, more felony domestic violence case is being upgraded than ever before and victims are receiving more timely and effective services. The Alvarez Administration has also secured a $ 1 million federal grant to expand a highly effective program that enables prosecutors to take a more intensive approach to the most serious domestic violence cases.

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Mortgage Fraud

STATE’S ATTORNEY TAKES FIRST-OF-ITS-KIND APPROACH TO TACKLE MORTGAGE FRAUD

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In response to the growing problem of mortgage fraud affecting so many communities throughout Cook County, Anita created a special prosecutions unit specifically dedicated to combating this crime. The State’s Attorney’s Office sought and received a $2.3 million federal grant to launch a dedicated mortgage...

In response to the growing problem of mortgage fraud affecting so many communities throughout Cook County, Anita created a special prosecutions unit specifically dedicated to combating this crime. The State’s Attorney’s Office sought and received a $2.3 million federal grant to launch a dedicated mortgage fraud investigations and prosecutions unit.

Working out of the State’s Attorney’s Community Justice Centers, mortgage fraud prosecutors are conducting pro-active mortgage fraud investigations coordinating takedowns of corrupt appraisers and brokers.

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New Task Force

CONSUMERS BENEFIT FROM STATE’S ATTORNEY’S NEW TASK FORCE

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It is currently estimated that the State of Illinois loses $77 million in tax revenues each year as a result of the crimes of organized retail theft and fencing. These crimes also have a direct impact on consumers on many levels, including driving up consumer...

It is currently estimated that the State of Illinois loses $77 million in tax revenues each year as a result of the crimes of organized retail theft and fencing. These crimes also have a direct impact on consumers on many levels, including driving up consumer prices and presenting potential dangers to consumer health and safety.

Recognizing this growing problem, State’s Attorney Alvarez created the Cook County Regional Organized Crime Task Force (CCROC), a group of law enforcement and retail partners dedicated to working jointly to combat these increasing crimes.

Since the CCROC task force was formed under the State’s Attorney’s leadership, its membership has grown to more than 800 participating law enforcement agencies and private sector retailers who are working to increase the prosecution of large-scale organized retail theft and fencing operations and sharing resources and intelligence throughout the Chicago Metropolitan Area and in neighboring states to prevent these crimes.

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