Chicago, IL – Embattled Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx has dropped more felony cases and successfully prosecuted fewer convictions than her predecessor during her first three years as Chicago’s top prosecutor.
The Chicago Tribune released an analysis of Foxx’s job performance on Monday that showed she has dropped 29.9 percent of the felony cases involving murder and other serious offenses that her office was asked to prosecute.
Former Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez’s office only dropped 19.4 percent of felonies during her last three years in office.
The Chicago’s Tribune’s analysis included 287,000 defendants’ criminal cases.
The study showed that 25,183 defendants charged with felonies had their cases dismissed by Foxx between her election November of 2016 and November of 2019, the Daily Mail reported.
Under Alvarez, only 18,694 defendants saw felony charges dismissed in the same amount of time in office.
Foxx defeated Alvarez in 2016 by running on a criminal reform platform with a promise to reduce the inmate population of the Cook County Jail, the Daily Mail reported.
She is up for re-election in November and handily defeated her primary opponent, but there are concerns that findings from pending investigations against the prosecutor could give her GOP opponent the needed boost to oust her.
The prosecutor has been endorsed by Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot despite the fact the city is under a siege of violent crime and, most recently, violent riots that left whole sections of the city in tatters.
Foxx defended her record to The Chicago Tribune when she was presented with the paper’s analysis.
“It is always eye-opening to be able to look at our own data and compare it to my predecessor’s past,” the prosecutor said. “I can’t reconcile what her decision-making was, and how they chose to [dismiss] cases in the past. But I will say that this administration has been clear that our focus would be on violent crime and making sure that our resources and attention would go to addressing violent crime.”
But The Chicago Tribune’s analysis also showed that Foxx was significantly less successful than her predecessor as a prosecutor on the occasions she did attempt to prosecute defendants.
During the same comparable periods of time, Alvarez won convictions 75 percent of the time and Foxx only got convictions 66 percent of the time, The Chicago Tribune reported.
Foxx has been under fire since the scandal with her office involving the arrest and dismissal of the charges against former “Empire” star Jussie Smollett.
Smollett told police on Jan. 29, 2019 that he had been attacked by two white supporters of President Donald Trump on his way home from a Subway restaurant.
He claimed the men called him homophobic and anti-black slurs and told him “This is MAGA country” as they beat him up and put a noose around his neck. He also said they threw a chemical on him.
Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson explained at a press conference the day of Smollett’s arrest that that police considered the actor a victim up until Ola and Abel Osundairo returned from Nigeria to Chicago and were taken into police custody, and then the investigation “spun in a totally different direction.”
“We gave him the benefit of the doubt up until that 47th hour. But when we discovered the actual motive, quite frankly, it pissed everybody off,” he explained.
He said the brothers told police that Smollett paid them $3,500 to stage the attack, with another $500 after they returned from a planned trip to Nigeria.
“We have the check that he used to pay them,” Superintendent Johnson said.
The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office announced on March 8 that Smollett had been indicted by a grand jury on 16 felony counts of disorderly conduct.
But then on March 26, the State’s Attorney’s Office unceremoniously announced all charges against the “Empire” actor had been dropped.
The city of Chicago has since sued Smollett for the cost of the overtime the police department incurred while investigating the hoax and the actor has counter-sued for malicious prosecution.
Cook County Judge Michael Toomin in June of 2019 appointed a special counsel to investigate what actually happened after information about Smollett hiding evidence and the involvement of Michelle Obama’s former chief of staff, Tina Tchen, in the case.
Toomin said that Foxx was right to recuse herself from Smollett’s trial after she asked Commissioner Johnson to turn over the case to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) after talking to Tchen, but that she did not have the authority to appoint her second-in-command to the prosecution in her stead, the Chicago Tribune reported.
Texts obtained by public records requests showed that Foxx herself called the Cook County Prosecutor’s Office’s excuse for withdrawing from the case “bulls–t,” the Chicago Tribune reported.
Toomin gave the special prosecutor, U.S. Attorney Dan Webb, a broad mandate to investigate what had happened with the case from beginning to end and what all parties involved had done.
Smollett was charged with six new counts of disorderly conduct on Feb. 11 for filing false police reports in connection with a faux hate attack he allegedly planned and executed on himself in January of 2019, WBBM reported.
The special prosecutor said in his statement about the indictment that his office “obtained sufficient factual evidence to determine that it disagrees with how the [Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office] resolved the Smollett case,” WBBM reported.
Webb said the prosecutor’s office had not been able to provide evidence that Smollett’s case had been handled similarly to other cases when the charges were dropped, which was the excuse that Foxx provided at the time.
The same week, Foxx was subpoenaed to appear in court to discuss who was paying outside attorneys that she has hired to defend her office in the Smollett case.
The matter before the court was whether Foxx should be using state funds to defend herself in connection with her handling of that high-profile and controversial case, WGN reported.
Foxx retained some legal heavy hitters to represent her office in the probe into its handling of the former “Empire” actor’s case and she’s handed the tab to the city, Crain’s Chicago Business reported.