Issues

  • Gang & Gun Violence -

    Anita proposed and drafted a new law that increases criminal penalties for street gang members who are arrested by police...

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  • Human Trafficking -

    Recognizing the growing crime of the sexual trafficking of young children, Anita formed a dedicated unit within the State’s Attorney’s...

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  • Public Corruption -

    At the outset of her administration, Anita hired a veteran federal prosecutor to help lead efforts to investigate and prosecute...

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  • Integrity Unit -

    Anita recently announced creation of the Cook County State’s Attorney’s “Conviction Integrity Unit,” a specialized unit within the office that...

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  • Restoring Trust -

    Without any additional staffing or funding, Anita delivered on her promise to restore the concept of community-based prosecutions in the...

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  • Women & Violence -

    Tackling the many issues surrounding domestic violence has been one of Anita’s top priorities and she has worked to develop...

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  • Mortgage Fraud -

    In response to the growing problem of mortgage fraud affecting so many communities throughout Cook County, Anita created a special...

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  • New Task Force -

    It is currently estimated that the State of Illinois loses $77 million in tax revenues each year as a result...

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Alvarez in the News

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July 13, 2012

New Law Becomes First-of-its Kind to Target Organized Gang Activity

Office of the State's Attorney

News

Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez joined Governor Pat Quinn Monday for the signing of the “Illinois Street Gang and Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Law”

(Street Gang Rico), which was written by her office and for the first time will enable local prosecutors to investigate and indict gang cases applying the tools of “Rico” a charge typically utilized in federal prosecutions.

“For the first time in the history of our state, this new law will give local prosecutors the tools to identify and address patterns in multiple gang-related offenses and join different organized crime offenses and different offenders into a single court proceeding,” Alvarez said.

“Prior to the signing of this bill, state prosecutors were typically only able to charge individual gang crimes and rarely, if ever, were able to prosecute and hold gang leaders accountable for the organized activities of the street gang and its rank-and-file members,” Alvarez said.

The “Street Gang Rico” law will target gang organizations engaged in a pattern of crimes involving violence such as illegal weapons, sex-offenses, terrorism, and drug trafficking. In this way, different organized crime offenses and offenders may be joined into a single proceeding, and prosecutors can target the structure of the criminal organization itself and allow judges and juries to hear and see a complete picture of the overall criminal activity of the gang and its leadership.

With passage of the new law, Alvarez also said she will create a new “Racketeering Unit” within her office that will include specially trained Assistant State’s Attorneys who will be made available to train other prosecutors from State’s Attorney’s offices around the state. The prosecutors in the State’s Attorney’s Racketeering Unit will undergo intensive training on the best practices and principles of Racketeering and Rico prosecutions and they will build and handle cases prosecuted by the office under the new law.

Alvarez thanked Governor Quinn, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, State Senator Tony Munoz and State Representative Michael Zalewski for their support in getting the new law enacted.

“This new law will require fundamental changes in the way that state prosecutors approach gang crimes because the crime of racketeering has not existed under Illinois law in any meaningful shape or form,” Alvarez said.