Kim Foxx won’t run for reelection

CHICAGO — Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx will not seek re-election in 2024. Foxx announced during a speech at the City Club of Chicago at lunchtime Tuesday. She will complete her term, which ends in December 2024.

The list of possible replacements is already being drawn up by political spectators, with NBC5’s Mary Ann Ahern suggesting former Chicago Inspector General Joe Ferguson, former Cook County Commissioner Richard Boykin, and Dan Kirk, a high-ranking prosecutor under Foxx’s predecessor as possibilities. Late last year, a CWBChicago source said a recently-resigned Cook County judge was leaving the bench to run for Foxx’s seat.

Foxx may be best remembered for fumbling the prosecution of Jussie Smollett. In a series of bungled decisions, Foxx purported to recuse herself from the matter but did not follow state law in doing so, making the prosecution invalid, a judge would later rule before appointing a special prosecutor to investigate then prosecute Smollet.

After Smollett was convicted last year, Foxx called it “a kangaroo prosecution.”

Kim Foxx speaks to the City Club of Chicago on April 25, 2023 | YouTube

But she won many fans and handily the 2020 election to serve a second term. Reviews of the final results found she actually lost in the suburbs, but more than made up for it by winning over city voters.

Advocates have praised her decisions to prosecute fewer retail theft and narcotics cases.

Under Foxx, the Cook County state’s attorney’s office expunged thousands of cannabis convictions since the state legalized marijuana in 2019, a move that she said would give the recipients fresh starts, unencumbered by felony convictions for behavior that is no longer a crime.

Her office has struggled to onboard enough new prosecutors as experienced litigators have departed in droves. Foxx has consistently racked up staffing problems to “the great resignation” that came with the COVID pandemic.

But several high-profile resignations over the past year by some of her office’s most seasoned attorneys raised eyebrows.

Natosha Toller abruptly announced in February 2022 that she was leaving the office after 16 years, just over a year after Foxx selected Toller to lead the criminal prosecution branch. Toller was recently appointed as a Cook County Associate Judge.

In April 2021, Foxx placed veteran Cook County prosecutor James Murphy on leave after some people questioned the accuracy of an in-court description he gave of the Chicago police killing of Adam Toledo.

“We have put that individual [Murphy] on leave and are conducting an internal investigation into the matter,” Foxx’s spokesperson told the media.

But when the investigation report came out, it provided almost exactly the same version of events that Murphy presented in court. Murphy returned to the job, and his supervisor, Coleman, was forced out.

Coleman and April Perry, Foxx’s ethics chief who resigned as the Jussie Smollett hate crime scandal exploded in 2019, were recently chosen as a finalist to become the next U.S. Attorney in Chicago.

Murphy quit months later, leaving an explosive resignation email as his goodbye to Foxx, saying he had “zero confidence” in the state’s attorney’s leadership.

Foxx also found herself fighting the perception of running an office that does not aggressively pursue violent criminals, including after a fatal shootout that was caught on video. In a handful of cases that prosecutors refused to charge, Chicago Police Department leaders have overridden the lawyers’ decisions and filed cases directly.

She has countered that her office has an ethical obligation only to bring charges “where the facts, evidence, and law support it.”

When state legislators passed a law that allowed some inmates to seek resentencing, Foxx said she would use the tool to win freedom for convicts who “have been rehabilitated and pose little threat to public safety.”

Her office then selected a convicted home invader, a convicted armed robber, and a convicted burglar as the first three people it would try to set free. The office withdrew one of those motions and lost the other two in front of judges who, among other things, questioned the law’s constitutionality.

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CWBChicago was created in 2013 by five residents of Wrigleyville and Boystown who had grown disheartened with inaccurate information that was being provided at local Community Policing (CAPS) meetings. Our coverage area has expanded since then to cover Lincoln Park, River North, The Loop, Uptown, and other North Side Areas. But our mission remains unchanged: To provide original public safety reporting with better context and greater detail than mainstream media outlets. Our editorial email address is news@cwbchicago.com