An article in the Chicago Tribune a few days ago shines the spotlight on the very issue that has served as a center point of this campaign and my commitment to the citizens of Lake County. The issue of wrongful convictions. This is an issue of concern that I am glad is getting a fresh burst of pre-election discussion.
As candidate for Lake County State's Attorney, I am committed to justice and bringing change to the Lake County State's Attorney's Office, including ensuring wrongful convictions never happen. The pursuit of justice begins with determining the truth, requires an open and ongoing dialogue, and a willingness to act based on hard facts and solid evidence.
I teach DNA and the laws of evidence , my platform has been clear from the day I announced more than one year ago, about the importance of forensic sciences, as well as improving training for prosecutors and law enforcement.
I have outlined specific actions I'm prepared to take, including the creation of an independent Case Review Panel, developing protocols for the prosecution of cases with forensic evidence, and making changes to policies, procedures and training.
Throughout the campaign, I have been meeting with law enforcement, the legal community, victims, victims' rights advocates, civil rights leaders, the faith community and all community members that this effects--sharing perspectives to address the most common causes of wrongful convictions.
Being State's Attorney is about making tough decisions and one of the toughest decisions a State's Attorney has to make is deciding when not to charge cases where there is insufficient evidence. I have the courage and confidence to make these difficult decisions and stand behind them. I'm committed to being tough on crime and making sure everyone is treated fairly... and that justice is served.
Lake County should never have its prosecutorial motivations be in question. I pledge to bring an independent, fresh perspective and new ideas to the office of State's Attorney and to restore its reputation to one in which we can all be proud.
I will do all in my power to make sure every citizen in Lake County is given the justice they deserve. With respect to specific pending cases, I cannot comment until I have all of the information. I do not have the benefit of having access to all of the State's evidence. I can assure you that if elected and given the opportunity to analyze all of the evidence in the Starks case--or any other case for that matter-- and I do not believe that the evidence supports a charge, I will have no problem dismissing the case.