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Anita Alvarez

Chicago’s Top Prosecutor Will Not Try The Officer Who Killed Laquan McDonald

The Huffington Post | Julia Craven | Posted 05.05.2016 | Politics

Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez announced on Thursday that she will recuse herself from prosecuting the case against Jason Van Dyke, the ...

Why Prosecutors Across The Country Are Finally Losing Elections

The Huffington Post | Kim Bellware | Posted 03.31.2016 | Politics

District attorney seats have been among the safest in local elections. Recent incumbent prosecutors' election losses suggest a tough-on-crime approa...

Laquan McDonald Police Shooting Needs Special Prosecutor, Petition Says

The Huffington Post | Kim Bellware | Posted 02.17.2016 | Black Voices

CHICAGO -- Citing a lack of confidence in Chicago's top prosecutor, a coalition of politicians, lawyers and community leaders on Tuesday formally call...

Rahm and His Aldermen Must Go for a New Chicago to Begin

Rev. Gregory Seal Livingston | Posted 12.01.2015 | Chicago
Rev. Gregory Seal Livingston

Let's cut to the chase: Laquan McDonald's shooting and video are the wake up call to all Chicagoans that we need a New Chicago. A new mayor and a new city council.

On Laquan McDonald, Wisps of Smoke and Slivers of Change

Jeff Kelly Lowenstein | Posted 11.29.2015 | Chicago
Jeff Kelly Lowenstein

Slivers of change amidst substantial continuity illustrate the ongoing need to fight for a more just and open city whose streets far too often have been soaked with the blood of young black men, including one whose life literally went up in puffs of smoke.

As Anita Alvarez Gears Up for Expanded Alternative Sentencing Program, Criticisms of Existing Services Emerge in New Study

Chloe Riley | Posted 07.19.2016 | Chicago
Chloe Riley

Limited services, understaffing and poor data keeping are all criticisms being pointed at the Cook County state's attorney via a new study examining the effectiveness of a county program offering alternatives to incarceration for first time felons.

"Business as Usual" for Cook County Prosecution of Marijuana

Chloe Riley | Posted 06.12.2016 | Chicago
Chloe Riley

Though this marks a turnaround for Alvarez, who once deemed marijuana a "gateway drug," there are still several issues with the move.

NATO 3 Sentencing Raises Questions About Police Spying in Chicago

Mark Cassello | Posted 06.29.2014 | Chicago
Mark Cassello

On Friday, April 25, 2014, the three young men dubbed the NATO 3 -- Brent Betterly, Jared Chase and Brian Jacob Church -- received sentences for the offenses of "mob action" and "possession of an incendiary device with intent to commit arson."

Closure Not an Option in David Koschman Case

G. Flint Taylor | Posted 05.17.2014 | Chicago
G. Flint Taylor

Koschman, 5'5" and 125 pounds, got "mouthy" and a 6'3", 230 pound ex-football player punched him in the face. Koschman, knocked unconscious, fell backward to the ground, where the back of his head crashed against the pavement.

Failure to Convict NATO 3 Protesters as Terrorists Undermines Broader Police Entrapment Trend

Kris Hermes | Posted 02.10.2014 | Crime
Kris Hermes

The OWS movement that inspired Church, Chase, Betterly, and millions of others showed us that we can and should resist these practices.

Hidden Agenda Fuels Challenge to Pivotal Death Penalty Case

David Protess | Posted 01.23.2014 | Chicago
David Protess

Anthony Porter, the exonerated death row inmate whose jubilant release from prison was the catalyst for abolishing the death penalty in Illinois, is back in the news after living in relative obscurity for years.

The Tribune Murdered the Truth

David Protess | Posted 01.23.2014 | Chicago
David Protess

"Who Committed Murder?" the editorial's headline blared. Its focus was on a double homicide of a young couple that led to the conviction and near-execution of Anthony Porter in 1998. Porter was freed after another man, Alstory Simon, confessed to the slayings on videotape.

Unholy Alliance Seeks to Dismantle Illinois Torture Commission

G. Flint Taylor | Posted 12.16.2013 | Chicago
G. Flint Taylor

In 2009, in the wake of the indictment of notorious Chicago police torture ringleader Jon Burge, the Illinois Legislature passed the Illinois Torture ...

Cook County Judge a Loose Cannon

David Protess | Posted 11.24.2013 | Chicago
David Protess

Serbian immigrant Marko Pantelic drove across town to the Leighton Criminal Court Building on Sept. 6 to support a wrongfully accused friend and "to see how justice works in America." He should have stayed home.

The Death of Innocents

David Protess | Posted 11.02.2013 | Chicago
David Protess

For the first time in 35 years, Anthony McKinney was no longer in the custody of the State. Since 1978, McKinney had been imprisoned at the Dixon Correctional Center despite overwhelming evidence of his innocence. But death proved to be his only way out.

Police Torture Victim Beats City Hall But Cuffed by Suburban Cops

David Protess | Posted 10.01.2013 | Chicago
David Protess

Eric Caine had millions of reasons to smile, so why the glum expression when we met at our favorite eatery on July 25? The previous day, the Chicago City Council had approved a $10 million settlement of his lawsuit against Comdr. Jon Burge and the cops who tortured him into falsely confessing to a double murder in 1986.

'Above All, I Am An Innocent Man'

David Protess | Posted 09.08.2013 | Chicago
David Protess

Serrano says that freedom became an option not long after he was granted a hearing in 2007 on the new evidence of his innocence -- affidavits by the jailhouse snitch and the widow recanting their testimony.

It's Time to Heal the Wounds From Chicago Police Torture

G. Flint Taylor | Posted 08.18.2013 | Chicago
G. Flint Taylor

June is Torture Awareness Month, and this year the National Religious Campaign Against Torture has declared its theme to be "healing a culture of tort...

Tables Turned at Wrongful Conviction Hearing

David Protess | Posted 08.18.2013 | Chicago
David Protess

The anticipation was palpable on Monday as Judge Maura Slattery Boyle ascended to the bench. Two prisoners had waited 20 years for this moment: a showdown with the Chicago cop they claimed had framed them, and the jailhouse snitch he had allegedly recruited for the job.

A Tale of Two Snitches

David Protess | Posted 08.10.2013 | Chicago
David Protess

For two decades, Armando Serrano and Jose Montanez have professed their innocence. Surprisingly, their fight for freedom has been bolstered by their former accusers.

Why Prosecutors Fear Widow's Testimony in Wrongful Conviction Case

David Protess | Posted 07.28.2013 | Chicago
David Protess

Twenty years ago, Vargas thought she knew who murdered her husband, Rodrigo, as he was leaving for work. That's because a detective told her he'd solved the crime.

Wrongful Conviction Hearing a Revelation

David Protess | Posted 07.20.2013 | Chicago
David Protess

Truth be told, slurs are common around the water cooler, reflecting a dehumanizing view of criminal defendants that comes from years of locking them up, one person of color at a time.

Cook County State's Attorneys' Office Disqualified (Again) From Burge Torture Cases

G. Flint Taylor | Posted 06.24.2013 | Chicago
G. Flint Taylor

Hopefully, Judge Biebel will swiftly appoint a special prosecutor not beholden to these extremely powerful Cook County politicians, who will agree that these long-suffering men are at long last entitled to a fair hearing.

Dual Personalities Emerge in Wrongful Conviction Cases

David Protess | Posted 06.09.2013 | Chicago
David Protess

Law enforcement agencies across the country are increasingly reviewing old cases and proudly reporting their mistakes. Prosecutors have launched conviction integrity units in San Jose, Dallas, Houston, Chicago, Lake County (IL), Manhattan and Brooklyn.

Mandatory Minimum Cop-Out

Julie Stewart | Posted 04.16.2013 | Crime
Julie Stewart

While the instinct to lock up dangerous, gun-toting criminals is a good one, the proposal unveiled in Chicago on Monday is a cop-out.