Kim Foxx Seeks A Second Term to Continue Fighting For Equal Justice For All

The Primary election is March 17 and Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx said she is ready for a second term so she can continue fighting to make the justice system equal for all.

Shortly after Foxx was endorsed on Thursday by the Illinois Black Caucus, a coalition of black, elected officials from the city, county and state, she sat down with the Chicago Defender to reflect on how far she has come since living in the former Cabrini-Green public housing development on the near North Side to becoming the first, black female Cook County State’s Attorney nearly four years ago.

“I’m running for re-election because I want to fight every single day to continue the important work of reforming justice and making a fairer and safer system for Cook County,” said Foxx. “I believe that a reformed criminal justice system that is more responsive to the people and more responsible in the pursuit of justice is a win-win for us all.”

Reflecting back on her first term Foxx said she is most proud of the day she stood side by side with innocent men incarcerated for years after being framed by a former Chicago police officer, who later served time in prison for his crimes.

“To be there when these men were freed from prison and to apology to them on behalf of a criminal justice system that did them wrong was a watershed moment for me,” recalled Foxx. “The 5.2 million residents of Cook County deserve a better system, one that is driven not by a ‘win at any cost’ mentality, but by a persistent quest for justice. This quest for justice is how we [law enforcement] will earn the community’s trust and build bridges to improve public safety.”

The 47-year-old wife and mother of four teenage daughters said if re-elected she plans to continue prosecuting offenders of violent crimes; reform the juvenile justice system; fight to combat crime, especially in urban neighborhoods, from Austin on the West Side to Roseland on the South Side; and securing mental health services for residents without them being incarcerated at Cook County Jail.

According to Dr. Terry Mason, chief operating officer for the Cook County Department of Public Health, Cook County Jail is the largest mental health provider in the county.

But Foxx said the county jail should not be used as a mental health facility or as a warehouse where misdemeanor offenders remain locked up for months.

“We have one of the largest jails in the country (and) a number of people in our jails are there for non-violent offenses [such as retail theft],” explained Foxx. “And a significant portion [of those offenders] are dealing with drug addiction or mental health issues. Our justice system is not the place to deal with a public health crisis.”

She said her opponents in the primary, namely Bill Conway, Donna More and Bob Fioretti, choose to talk about the Jussie Smollett case because “they don’t want to talk about people who have had their convictions vacated, Illinois’ marijuana legalization bill or that we are combating violent crimes. So that tells you everything they need to know about them,” she said.

After Cook County prosecutors initially charged Smollett in 2019 with 16 counts of felony disorderly conduct his case was dismissed after he performed community service work and forfeited his $10,000 bail. A special prosecutor was appointed late last year to investigate the Smollett case, which is no longer being handed by Cook County prosecutors, and in February Smollett was indicted again on five counts of felony disorderly conduct.

The other high-profile case that occurred since Foxx was first elected in December 2016 is Grammy-award singer Robert Kelly also known as “R. Kelly.” The former Kenwood Academy High School student, who dropped out at age 16, is accused by prosecutors of allegedly assaulting one woman and sexually abusing three others years ago. Three of the alleged victims were underage at the time, according to prosecutors. Additionally, prosecutors alleged Kelly and his associates fixed his 2008 child pornography trial in Cook County (where he was found not guilty) by paying off witnesses and victims to change their stories.

As a survivor of sexual assault Foxx said the Kelly case is personal for her.

“I took it upon myself to seek out possible victims in this case because I know the pain and shame victims often feel and how the experience could traumatize them for years,” said Foxx.

At a young age Foxx became a victim of sexual abuse and assault herself and said she still seeks treatment for emotional scars that followed.

“I was sexually abused by a relative when I was 4-years-old and at age 7 I was picked up on the way home by two boys, who raped me and then sent me on my way,” she recalled. “This is why we should never dismiss sexual assault victims just because the abuse happened years ago.”

Critics contend Hollywood movie mogul Harvey Weinstein and entertainer Bill Cosby, who were both convicted of sex crimes, should not have been charged years after the incident occurred. Kelly is also accused of sex crimes that allegedly occurred years ago as well.

“The statue of limitation for certain sex crimes was removed not too long ago by the Illinois General Assembly. But people need to know that justice doesn’t have a time stamp on it,” said Foxx. “And the offenses Mr. Kelly is charged with in Cook County are within the statue of limitations.”

As the county’s top prosecutor Foxx said a typical workday begins around 5:30 a.m. and ends around 8 p.m.

“My day starts early with me exercising, then spending some one on one time with my girls before they leave for school,” she said. “I might participate in one community event on Saturday but come Sunday that’s family day.”

When Foxx — who earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and a law degree from Southern Illinois University — isn’t working, she enjoys spending time with her daughters, ages 17, 16, 14 & 14, and her best friend Kelly, who happens to be her husband.

“I have been with my husband for a really long time. We met over 20 years ago on the campus of SIU (Southern Illinois University),” recalled Foxx. “We enjoy traveling, going to the movies and watching TV. And the best way to describe Kim Foxx is one persistent woman.”

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