Former judge Pat O’Brien lost by 15 points when he tried to unseat Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx in November. Running as a Republican, O’Brien fared much better in the suburbs than in the city, but he lost handily nonetheless.
Now, O’Brien says Foxx isn’t doing her job — but he’s not asking her to resign.
In an op-ed published by the Oak Lawn Patch this week, O’Brien focuses on the case of Daniel Regalado, who is charged with reckless homicide and other felonies after he allegedly killed 12-year-old Cire Robinson in a high-speed crash after drinking.
At the time of the January 20 crash, Regalado was out of jail on affordable bail for three cases, two of which involved illegal gun possession. Noting Regalado’s repeated release before Robinson’s death, Oak Lawn Mayor Sandra Bury called for Foxx to resign.
But O’Brien has another idea: “I am not requesting that Ms. Foxx resign. I am requesting that Ms. Foxx do her job.”
“I do not believe that Ms. Foxx will resign,” O’Brien wrote. “Ms. Foxx has been reelected to another four-year term. An election that I personally recall. What I do advocate, however, is that Ms. Foxx fulfill her responsibility to protect the community and be a voice for victims.”
O’Brien claims Foxx’s office failed to fight for higher bonds after judges repeatedly released Regalado on “affordable bail.”
“In July 2018, he was charged with reckless discharge of a firearm and unlawful possession of a firearm during an incident where the Cook County Sheriff’s SWAT team had to be called,” O’Brien recalled. “He posted a $500 bond without prosecutor’s objection or appeal.
“Six months later, in January 2019, he was charged with manufacture-delivery of cannabis. He was freed on a signature bond (I-bond) without prosecutor’s objection or appeal.”
“In August 2019, he was charged with unlawful use of a weapon by a felon (an offense mandating a prison sentence upon conviction). He was freed after posting a $500 bond without prosecutor’s objection or appeal.”
O’Brien notes that the second and third cases were both violations of the previous pending cases, yet Regalado was released even though he violated the conditions of bond.
“Ms. Foxx’s office could appeal any judge’s bail order to which they objected,” O’Brien argues. “It does not appear that Ms. Foxx requested Regalado’s successive charges appropriately increase or revoke bail. Nor did her office appeal any of the judge’s bond orders.”
We asked Foxx’s office if its prosecutors sought any bail increases for Regalado. The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office did not answer the question directly, but did provide a statement:
“At bail hearings, Cook County prosecutors present to the judge all available information regarding the offender’s criminal history and charges related to the case. From there, the judge makes the final determination on what happens to the defendant, including whether that individual is a threat to public safety or can be released from custody with bail conditions,” the office said.
“The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office works to uphold public safety through the fair and efficient administration of justice and continues to prosecute cases to the full extent of the law. The tragic death of a young child deeply affects us all and should not be exploited.”
O’Brien says, “if the judge’s order is unsatisfactory, then her office should appeal that order. Presently and in the Regalado case, the proceedings at bond court reflect that such advocacy is not occurring.”
The former judge also called out Foxx for her support of the county’s “affordable bail” program and of recently-passed state legislation that would completely eliminate cash bail. That law has not yet been signed by Gov. JB Pritzker, although he has expressed his support for the legislation.
“Ms. Foxx should publicly oppose this legislation until it is revised to include the provisions and funds necessary to protect the public, and future Cire Robinsons,” O’Brien wrote.
Regalado was allegedly driving 66 MPH in a 30 MPH zone when he crossed the center line and slammed into the Cadillac Escalade being driven by her father near Midway Airport.
Prosecutors initially said Regalado was highly intoxicated while driving, but they later said an error was made when calculating his blood alcohol content. In fact, the state now alleges, Regalado’s BAC was about half of the legal limit. They’ve dropped DUI charges in favor of an “impaired driving” charge.
You can read O’Brien’s full letter to The Patch here.