Donna More, Candidate for Cook County State's Attorney

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Sunday, February 21, 2016

Candidate Full Name: Donna More

Office: Cook County State's Attorney

Party: Democrat

Survey Questions (Character limit of 2,000 per response)

1. Please tell us about yourself, your background and why you believe you are qualified to hold this office.

Running for the first time, I am the only candidate who does not have political bosses. In fact, I am taking on establishment interests to remove politics and influence from the State's Attorney's Office (SAO) and restore voters' faith in the criminal justice system. I am the only former state and federal prosecutor in the race, and I am the only candidate who has published plans to address the most pressing concerns of our community: gun violence, police shootings, mental illness and public corruption. I am a lifelong resident of Cook County - I grew up in Evanston -- and I believe that voters are fed up with the status quo. They want a chief prosecutor who is in touch with their needs and answers to public interest, not self interest. That's why I am in the race.

2. The debate over police accountability and misconduct has spurred an array of federal, state and local investigations. Some of those investigations will take months. Name one reform or step that the state's attorney's office could institute right now that would significantly improve police accountability.

I'll name two. First, we need to get the so-called Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA) out of the State's Attorney's (SA) way. Only the State's Attorney has the power to charge and indict criminal conduct. IPRA's delays and confiscations of evidence are unacceptable and have to end. I want fatalities that result from police shootings to be treated as crimes until the SA, not IPRA, says it is a crime. I'll try to make this change by agreement, but I'm prepared go to Springfield and try to pass a law.

Next, I'll create a dedicated police shooting unit in the office made up of former assistant US attorneys who report directly to me (I don not support special prosecutors and federal intervention on every police shooting). They will be first responders to the scenes; they will have access to real time evidence; they will have their own investigative teams; they will make charging recommendations to me and once I decide on charges or no charges, I will issue a public report explaining our decision. I'll also use the grand jury to compel truthful testimony from police officers on the scene.

3. What is one thing that can be done today to improve the transparency and credibility of the prosecutions of police-involved shootings?

The State's Attorney's Office, like every other office in government, needs to be accountable. I will make certain that we (1) respond to reasonable requests for performance data, (2) publish annual reports on the work of the office and the progress it is making in crime prevention, restorative justice, mental health, gun violence reduction, etc., and (3) work to install a modern information technology infrastructure that we can use to help break down silos within the office and the county the impede our law enforcement activities.

4. Why have current gun controls laws failed to curb the violence? What measures do you support to reduce gun violence?

Because we haven't deployed a countywide effort. I have been on record since last November with this five point plan: (1) establish a Cook County Safety Alliance that marshals resources to fight crime from the neighborhood level up; (2) open a dedicated gun court so police, prosecutors and judges can get a bead on traffickers and repeat offenders and put them behind bars; (3) use the grand jury system to work our way up the trafficking food change; (4) support assault weapons legislation to get tougher on illegal sales and transfers; and (5) make room in the jail by changing charging, bonding and sentencing polices.

5. Voters say they are turned off by the negative and misleading TV ads that dominate the air waves. However, campaign and election experts say candidates rely on them because "they work." Will you and your campaign agree to refrain from running negative ads from now until the election?

My adveritsing will address qualifications and programs. I will not mislead the public ... the idea of doing so is antithetical to the turth and evidence based nature of this electoral office. I will use information in my advertising that points out the failures and shortcomings of my opponents. I do not consider such fact-based adveristing to be "negative" per se. Instead, I see it as a way to inform the public about their choices re: perforamnce and credentials.

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