Chicago crime frustrations mount against State’s Attorney Kim Foxx as ‘mass exodus’ continues: source
FIRST ON FOX – Frustrations continue to mount against Cook County States Attorney Kimberly Foxx as a growing number of attorneys in her office resign, a source familiar with the matter told Fox News Digital.
Four Cook County Assistant State’s Attorneys (ASAs) recently resigned from Foxx’s Felony Review Unit — three of whom quit on the same day — all within the past two weeks, a source familiar with the matter told Fox News Digital.
The four felony ASAs, who normally worked out of the Cook County Criminal Court Building on 26th Street and California Avenue, were being asked to volunteer their time covering traffic court in a Bridgeview, Illinois, courthouse due to staffing issues at the Bridgeview location, the source said.
The resignations come about three months after a 25-year veteran Illinois prosecutor took aim at Foxx’s policies in a public resignation letter published in July.
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A large number of prosecutors working within State’s Attorney Kim Foxx’s office have left.
(Antonio Perez/ Chicago Tribune)
More than 235 people have resigned from Foxx’s office since July 2021, according to The Chicago Tribune.
Former Cook County Assistant States Attorney Dan Kirk, who knows Foxx and previously worked in the same office as her under former State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez, described the head prosecutor as “a great individual” and an intelligent lawyer, but he thinks her “tenure as the elected district attorney has been an abysmal failure.”
“Foxx’s implemented policies that have made Chicago less safe, that have made people feel unsafe and emboldened criminals, and created this new level of in seeing brazenness among criminals that was unimaginable prior to her … tenure,” Kirk said. “But I also think that her term in office of state’s attorney has been an abysmal failure from the perspective of what it’s done to the state attorney’s office in recent years. The most senior people have all … left the office in this mass exodus, which has been unprecedented. She likes to blame it on COVID, except in every other prosecutor’s office around Chicago and the other neighboring counties have either maintained their size or actually, in many cases, grown.”
The SAO office did not respond to an inquiry from Fox News, but Foxx told WTTV on Tuesday that she is “proud” of the employees who have stayed in her office during “the great resignation.”
“We have just brought in a new class of attorneys … 50 back in August will be sworn in next month,” the State’s Attorney told the outlet. “So, we’re trying to keep up with attrition. We’re not fully staffed. We certainly are much better than we were. We’re on par with our colleagues across the country. Somewhere around 15 percent of our positions remain open .”
Four Cook County Assistant States Attorneys have resigned from Kim Foxx’s office within the past two weeks, a source familiar with the matter told Fox News Digital.
(AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato, File)
While the specific details of the four most recent resignations are not known, the “exodus” from the SAO, Kirk believes, is “because of policy and leadership failures,” as well as low morale.
“I hear it every day. … I still know of hundreds of people in the office, and I only hear one unanimous message from them, which is that morale has never been lower in the office,” the former ASA continued. “If they don’t respect the administration, they don’t believe that the administration puts victims first. They believe that the administration puts politics and PR first above victims.”
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Former Cook County Judge Daniel Locallo speculated that the prosecutors may have been unhappy with hours or supervision, but Foxx’s office, in general, is “having trouble keeping assistance.”
“Basically, the prosecutor is the one who’s carrying the ball on behalf of the victim of a crime,” the former criminal court judge explained. “Other [Foxx] is de-emphasizing the treatment of victims by handing out ridiculous sentences.”
Four people in Chicago were injured on Aug. 21 during a drive-by shooting outside a high school on the city’s Northwest side.
Like other progressive prosecutors who have come under fire — including ousted San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin, Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner and others — Foxx is facing criticism for policies that locals and insiders believe are contributing to a growing violent crime rate.
In Chicago, murders are down 17% so far this year, with 523 murders recorded in 2022 compared to 633 at the same time last year, according to statistics from the Chicago Police Department (CPD). Shootings are also down 19%, with 2,218 shooting incidents reported so far in 2022 compared to 2,755 reported through Oct. 2, 2021. But murders and shootings are up since 2020, 2019 and 2018.
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Violent crime — including burglary, robbery, theft and motor vehicle theft — is also up 37% on average so far this year compared to last year, as well as 2020, 2019 and 2018.
Critics have voiced concern over the 2023 Illinois Safe-T Act, set to take effect Jan. 1, which aims to eliminate cash bail and detain criminals only if “the defendant poses a specific, real and present threat to a person, or has a high likelihood of willful flight,” and implement police reform measures.
Chicago Police officers investigate the crime scene where a man was shot in the alley in the Little Village neighborhood on July 2, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. A South Carolina sheriff’s deputy was shot and an armed suspect was killed in July, authorities said.
(Joshua Lott/AFP via Getty Images))
“We’re seeing this erosion of public safety or this feeling of erosion of public safety in Chicago and other large cities,” Kirk told Fox News Digital. “And this looming SAFE-T Act will go into effect on January 1st. The remaining portion of that law, which will effectively end cash bail in Illinois and make many, many offenses … non-detainable.”
Locallo questioned the constitutionality of the bill, explaining that the Illinois legislature cannot eliminate cash bail without changing the state’s constitution. Additionally, any Illinois bill “has to be on single subject” to prevent legislation containing multiple purposes from being shot down in one fell swoop.
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Kirk recently spoke with Fox News analyst Gianno Caldwell, who lost his 18-year-old brother, Christian, in a July 24 shooting. No arrests have been made or suspects announced in the case since it happened four months ago. Christian was one of three people injured in the shooting, and Caldwell believes the teenager was an unintended target — he was simply at the wrong place at the wrong time, like many other Chicago violent crime victims.
Why have three-and-a-half months passed without any answers? Why hasn’t Christian’s murderer been detained?
“In Chicago, the way that it works is that when a police agency wants to bring forth charges against an individual, they have to contact the State’s Attorney’s Office Felony Review Unit, and then [the unit] reviews the case and makes an assessment about the facts in the line and if appropriate, brings charges or in some cases rejects charges because it’s just not there,” Kirk explained.
It is unclear if CPD has presented the case to Foxx’s office for review.
In the meantime, Cadlwell has managed to turn his grief into action as he awaits answers.
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The Fox News analyst has spent the last several months trying to get answers from police, prosecutors, local leaders and members of Congress alike on his own behalf and the behalf of other Chicago families of crime victims.
“It is not at all surprising to me that Kim Foxx continues to lead good, diligent prosecutors out of her office. She’s proven time and time again that she’s not interested in prosecuting cases. She’s undercharged a number of cases. She’s dropped 25,000 cases, including felony murder and rape. She has shown herself to be a prosecutor who’s fully derelict in her duties and … not up to the task of being the county prosecutor. It is my hope that more prosecutors will stay and try to do the good work for victims across the county, but I do understand — if you have a boss who has no interest in fighting crime, then what’s the point?”
Audrey Conklin is a digital reporter for FOX Business and Fox News. Email tips to [email protected] or on Twitter at @audpants.