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Orland Park is calling on the state to pass a law allowing local governments to override the prosecutor’s decision not to pursue the criminal charges

ORLAND PARK, Illinois – Orland Park officials are calling on state lawmakers to pass bill that would allow local governments and law enforcement agencies to overturn a prosecutor’s decision not to prosecute a criminal charge.

The Village Board of Trustees voted 7-0 on Monday, November 15, in a resolution urging Illinois lawmakers to pass House Law 4176 “The evidence supporting the indictment is clear and compelling. “

The prosecutor or deputy prosecutor may overturn the waiver within seven days under the bill, unless “the court determines that the law enforcement agency’s decision to overturn was based on clear and convincing evidence”. In this case, the prosecutor must conduct a preliminary investigation or bring an indictment by the grand jury within 30 days from the date he or she was arrested, or if he is not in custody, within 60 days from the date he or she was arrested. “The bill also requires the prosecutor to tell the victim or the victim’s family why the case was rejected.

“Just a few weeks ago, when he testified before the Cook County Board, District Attorney Kim Foxx was asked whether it would affect street crime if more people were charged with violent crimes on the street,” Trustee Michael Milani said during the discussion of the resolution. “She said no. But from 2016 to 2021, for example, there has been an absurd increase in the number of Cook County defendants released due to electronic surveillance.

“Accused of murder increased 444%, armed violence increased 767%, heavy gun possession increased 436%, felons in possession of a firearm rose 1761%, and grievous bodily harm rose 178% .

“Do you think when you hear these statistics, along with all the increasing violent crime and repeat offenders still arrested? [Foxx]? “

Milani said he believes the Cook County State Attorney’s Office has not consistently brought charges of crimes, particularly violent ones.

“This has definitely become an obstacle in the fight against crime,” he said. “However, this legislation will help balance the scales of the judiciary and aid local law enforcement agencies.”

He said the resolution calls on state lawmakers to “step on the record, do the right thing and act.”

“We have to keep these criminals off the streets,” said Milani. “The ubiquitous revolving door for repeat offenders must be closed. It has to be accountable, not only to these criminals, but also to the prosecution, to keep these criminals off the streets. “

Trustee Sean Kampas said the judicial system relies on a number of procedures and legal rules to function properly.

“Our state has 118 MPs and 59 senators who write these laws,” he said. “A grand jury takes 16 to indict someone and 12 to convict. There are controls and balances to ensure due process and appeal, and we have a Supreme Court to interpret this law. There are seven judges of the Supreme Court.

“But in Cook County, it only takes one person to make a dismissal policy, not the law, but theirs [own] personal political agenda. For that we need an appointment procedure. We need a control and a balance for this type of power for just one leader who has such a huge impact on our security. “

Mayor Keith Pekau commended the Orland Park Police Department for “doing a great job in these extremely tough times”. He said the index crime in Orland Park was the lowest since the village began tracking these statistics 27 years ago.

“We ranked number 1 for the lowest per capita violent crime for cities with populations over 50,000 in the state of Illinois,” said Pekau. “We were also rated as the safest city in Illinois in 2020. Our department did it despite many obstacles. There was a push to get the police off our legislators and our congressional officials. The passage of HB 3653 attempting that turn our cops into criminals and prioritize criminals over law-abiding citizens, as well as abolishing cash bail so dangerous criminals can be released to commit more crimes while awaiting trial. Of course, it will come into effect after the next election. “

Pekau also said that Orland Park officials confiscated illegal weapons from the street every five days.

“Because of our proactive policing, I’m grateful that we can find them before they commit another violent crime,” he said.

But because the prosecutor is not pursuing the prosecution of crimes, Pekau said the village had to resort to other avenues, such as prosecuting federal charges against certain criminals.

“[Foxx] and those who support them are responsible for … making Cook County a haven for criminals, putting our police and citizens at greater risk, “said Pekau. “Enough is enough. The house bill that we support would enable our department and village to bring charges directly to court if the prosecutor refuses to pursue a case. The prosecutor would then have to respond in writing and inform the victims if they continue to reject the case. “

Pekau said the city of Chicago already had this ability, and HB 4176 would allow other communities to do the same.

“In my opinion, this would bring more transparency to the process, as prosecutors would have to make public why they refuse to hear cases and act like a public defender instead of a prosecutor,” he said.

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