Home / News / Harris relies on personal story in state attorney’s speech

Harris relies on personal story in state attorney’s speech


Cook County state’s attorney candidate Clayton Harris III made a personal pitch for the Democratic nomination in the upcoming primary to a small crowd at the City Club on Thursday afternoon.

As a former assistant state attorney, Harris said she saw Black men “move in and out of the system”; As a resident of Washington Park, he said his family had to worry about “bullets flying” and being profiled by police; and as a father raising young boys, he said he was heartbroken when he read about a case filed by his opponent that became the centerpiece of his campaign for both safety and justice in office.

Harris’ opponent in the March 19 primary is retired Appellate Judge Eileen O’Neill Burke, the better-financed candidate in the contest to replace outgoing attorney general Kim Foxx. At issue is who will run the second-largest prosecutor’s office in the country, at a time when the crime spike triggered by the pandemic has not yet fully subsided.

Harris reiterated her call for a “balanced” approach to security and justice, and vowed to run the office on behalf of “smash-and-grab or businesses that feel they need to close because of crimes committed, or just feel they need to close.” downtown,” as well as “motorists pulled over for excuse traffic stops.”

Both candidates said they would “reset” their relationships with local police departments, applauded the passage of SAFE-T Act reforms and pledged to continue many of Foxx’s restorative justice measures. But as fundraising and interest increased in recent weeks, the campaign largely devolved into negative attacks.

O’Neill Burke will present his case at the Country Club on Monday.

In Harris’ Country Club speech and a follow-up conversation with attorney Duane Deskins, a former federal prosecutor, Harris argued that her time away from the courtroom was an asset. O’Neill Burke has spent his entire career in and around courtrooms as a prosecutor, defense attorney, and judge.

“You have extremely solid experience in the legal world in terms of government affairs and legislative affairs — you’ve been doing this for 20 years — but it would also be equally true that if you are elected, you will have the least amount of experience in terms of criminal court experience as a Cook County prosecutor,” Deskins said. “I am the prosecutor of the year,” he said. “Do you think you are ready to take on this kind of task?”

Cook County state’s attorney candidate Clayton Harris (R) discusses his candidacy with moderator Duane Deskins at the Chicago City Club on March 7, 2024. (Antonio Perez/Chicago Tribune)

“Absolutely,” Harris said, adding that her experience in criminal courts, including criminal appeals and special prosecutions focusing on narcotics, “shouldn’t let anyone sleep.”

“But if someone in good faith is relying solely on his legal experience (time in office) to determine whether he should be the next Cook County state’s attorney, then he is grossly misunderstanding the role of the state’s attorney,” Harris said.

The job, he said, is not to argue cases directly in court, but to make sure prosecutors “have the resources they need, the training they need, the infrastructure and support they need.” “You need someone who can both run the office and run the office.”

Throughout the campaign, Harris pointed to her management experience running city and state government offices and lobbying elected officials (she worked in government affairs at both Lyft and C2HM Hill) as a sign of her management strength and ability to work across offices to effect change. .

O’Neill Burke said his time running a Lyft-funded statewide nonprofit opposing the classification of drivers as employees was indicative of an anti-union streak; Harris played down that, pointing to a variety of support from progressive labor groups.

Harris, meanwhile, said O’Neill Burke’s lawsuit against AM, who was 11 when he was convicted of violently murdering his elderly neighbor in 1994, was disqualifying.

O’Neill Burke, the junior prosecutor in the office at the time, said he presented the best case based on the evidence to defend the victim and that the boy’s confession was “convincing evidence.”

The boy’s conviction was later overturned. The federal judge found that the officer who provided the confession had coerced it. O’Neill Burke was not charged with misconduct, and the judge said the boy’s lawyer provided inadequate defense, he said.

In an interview with WGN-TV this week, he said that if he had known that the officer “was conducting investigations that were inconsistent with the Constitution and the law, of course I would not have moved forward with this.”

Democratic candidate Eileen O'Neill Burke answers media questions after her debate with Clayton Harris III on ABC7 Chicago on February 8, 2024.  (Chris Sweda/Chicago Tribune)
Democratic candidate Eileen O’Neill Burke answers questions after her debate with Clayton Harris III on WLS-Ch. 7 studios in Chicago on February 8, 2024. (Chris Sweda/Chicago Tribune)

Despite this, Harris criticized O’Neill Burke on Thursday for not acknowledging “something was wrong” with the prosecution of the case; this included ignoring “much exculpatory evidence.”

He said he had “been in situations where I’ve had to dismiss cases because I wasn’t happy with the way things were going forward” and that O’Neill Burke should do the same.

“We all make mistakes and we can own up to that,” Harris said. “We should expect more from our elected officials, and you all should expect more from me as your state’s attorney general.”

He also took issue with what O’Neill Burke said when AM suggested sentencing options were not harsh enough to respond to violent crime when AM was convicted. “Our criminal act against children was written at a time when children were destroying outhouses, not killing people,” he said, according to the Sun-Times. “We’re looking at a completely new species here.”

“I have two sons. “They are 11 and 9 years old,” Harris said. “This 10-year-old could have been my son. It’s extremely personal to me, when I read the facts of the case, I thought about these things… This could have been my son. A whole new species. A brand new species? ”

Critics said the phrase contributed to racist “superpredator” narratives at the time. O’Neill Burke told WGN that the phrase “completely new species” was “a terrible phrase and I shouldn’t use that phrase.”

Both candidates support state law requiring anyone under 18 questioned by police to have an attorney and providing additional support for youth to prevent crime and repeat offenses.



About yönetici

Check Also

Meet the 2023-24 Aurora-Elgin men’s basketball all-District team

[ad_1] Players from Waubonsie Valley, West Aurora, Oswego East and Class 1A state finalist Aurora …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Watch Dragon ball super