Kim Foxx staffer questioned over handling of 2011 case, Lightfoot appoints new 12th Ward alderperson and more in your Chicago news roundup

Today’s update is a 5-minute read that will brief you on the day’s biggest stories.

SHARE Kim Foxx staffer questioned over handling of 2011 case, Lightfoot appoints new 12th Ward alderperson and more in your Chicago news roundup
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Maxine Hooks, mother of slain Chicago Police Officer Clifton Lewis, and Lewis’ fiancee, Tamara Latrice Tucker, are shown at Lewis’ funeral at United Missionary Baptist Church, 4242 W. Roosevelt Road, on Jan. 5, 2012.

Brian Jackson/Sun-Times file

Good afternoon. Here’s the latest news you need to know in Chicago. It’s about a five-minute read that will brief you on today’s biggest stories.

This afternoon will be cloudy with a chance of rain and a high near 40 degrees. Tonight will be mostly cloudy with a low near 34. Tomorrow will be mostly cloudy with a high near 41.

Top story

Prosecution of man accused of killing cop raises questions about Kim Foxx’s conviction integrity chief

As director of the Conviction Integrity Unit in one of the nation’s largest prosecutorial offices, Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney Nancy Adduci is in charge of reexamining past cases to ensure that the office’s tremendous power has been employed justly.

That job is becoming more complicated with Adduci in the middle of a courthouse storm over allegedly hidden exculpatory evidence in three of her own prosecutions — all stemming from the 2011 slaying of Chicago Police Officer Clifton Lewis.

A Cook County judge last month scolded the police department for withholding thousands of pages of records from a monthslong investigation that led to the arrest and conviction of one of the alleged killers — records withheld for more than a decade.

One of the defense attorneys, Jennifer Blagg, said Adduci and another assistant state’s attorney on the case must have been aware of that evidence.

“Any prosecutor who worked as long and as hard as these prosecutors did would know,” Blagg said.

The case embroils not only Adduci, a career prosecutor in the office, but also State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, a self-styled progressive who put Adduci at the conviction integrity helm instead of bringing in an outsider.

“It’s not ideal to have a prosecutor within your office handling conviction-integrity review,” said Rachel Barkow, a New York University law professor who studies criminal justice administration. “You’re just so much better off hiring someone from outside the office who has done defense work or innocence work.”

WBEZ’s Chip Mitchell has more on the case and the questions facing Adduci here.

More news you need

  1. Joseph Kromelis, better known as Chicago’s “Walking Man” died yesterday, several months after he was set on fire as he slept on Lower Wabash Avenue. Kromelis, who was homeless, had been a fixture of the Loop for years and could often be seen walking the streets.
  2. Elected officials and community organizations called for more to be done to address gun laws and support survivors at a vigil honoring victims of gun violence in Hyde Park yesterday. The event was one of a series of vigils held across the country for the 10th annual National Vigil for All Victims and Survivors of Gun Violence, commemorating the 10th anniversary of the Sandy Hook mass shooting.
  3. Newly cleared of a fourth allegation of child sex abuse, the Rev. Michael Pfleger returned to St. Sabina Church yesterday and delivered Sunday Mass. Pfleger denounced the “forces of evil” that he said were trying to take him down for supporting causes like gun control.
  4. The city’s planning agency today approved zoning for the proposed Bally’s casino at Chicago Avenue and Halsted Street, a step in the $1.7 billion project’s journey through government approvals. The proposal includes a 500-room hotel, a 3,000-seat theater and event center, a riverwalk and 4,000 gaming positions for the casino.
  5. With respiratory illnesses on the rise in Chicago, health care providers are warning that children’s medications may be difficult to find these days as worried parents are facing empty shelves and understocked pharmacies across the city. Allison Novelo has more on the soaring demand and empty shelves here.
  6. Mayor Lori Lightfoot today appointed Anabel Abarca, chief of staff to now-former Ald. George Cardenas (12th), to replace her former boss in the City Council. Before resigning to take his seat on the Cook County Board of Review, Cardenas served as Lightfoot’s deputy floor leader.
  7. The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office announced a new search warrant policy last Friday in an effort to help prevent police from knocking down the wrong doors. Under the new policy, officers who seek a review of a search warrant from the state’s attorney’s office will then also have to provide follow up information to the office on the outcome of the search.
  8. As he nears retirement, outgoing Secretary of State Jesse White sat down with Sun-Times columnist Neil Steinberg. White reflected on his time in baseball, the military, 1955 Montgomery, politics and his work with the well-known Jesse White Tumblers.

A bright one

From CPS to the world stage: Mariachi Herencia de México takes the music genre to whole new heights

Artists ranging from Elvis Presley and Dianne Reeves to Dolly Parton and the Beach Boys have recorded thousands of holiday music albums over the years with jazz, pop, classical, country and other stylistic takes on the yuletide.

But for freshness and originality, it’s hard to top Mariachi Herencia de México’s south-of-the-border ode to Christmas. The Chicago-based band returns this week to the Old Town School of Folk Music and Thalia Hall for five performances of “A Very Merry Christmas Concert.”

Audiences can expect to hear an assortment of mariachi versions of well-known American holiday classics like “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” “White Christmas,” “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” and “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas” intermingled with some Spanish-language offerings.

“Mariachi is such a versatile genre that you can make mostly any song into a mariachi arrangement, and it works so well to the ears,” said musical director Marco A. Villela, who arranged most of the songs on the program. “There’s a market for it, and people really enjoy that.”

Mariachi Herencia de Mexico are photographed in the foyer of the White House in 2021 for their performance at the White House. 

Mariachi Herencia de Mexico are photographed in the White House in 2021 ahead of a performance there. The group has a series of concerts set in Chicago this weekend.

Courtesy of Mariachi Herencia de Mexico

This year marks Mariachi Herencia’s third annual visit to the two popular Chicago venues, and Villela said the performances draw diverse audiences, including some returnees. “It’s amazing that these concerts kind of call out to everybody,” he said.

Mariachi Herencia emerged out of a mariachi education program in the Chicago Public Schools established in 2016 by the Mariachi Heritage Foundation for predominantly low-income Latino students as a way to boost student empowerment and teach such skills as creative thinking.

“Students tried out for the most advanced ensemble, and year after year, record after record, the band matured and developed into Mariachi Herencia de México, one of the most exciting mariachi bands out there,” said César Maldonado, the group’s founder and manager.

Following traditional mariachi instrumentation, the 13-piece band consists of five violins, three trumpets, three guitars (including the Mexican vihuela), one bass and one harp, with the musicians doubling as singers.

Kyle MacMillan has more with Mariachi Herencia de México here.

From the press box

Your daily question☕

Say you’ve been granted three wishes that can only be used to improve/better your neighborhood — what will you wish for?

Send us an email at newsletters@suntimes.com and we might feature your answer in the next Afternoon Edition.

On Friday, we asked you: If you could invite three famous Chicagoans to a dinner party, who would you choose?

Here’s what some of you said...

“Jane Addams for inspiring me to do the work I do, Carl Sandburg for his poetry so beautifully reflecting the Chicago of my ancestors, Daniel Burnham for his involvement in designing Chicago landmarks, and Studs Terkel for his oral histories of common Chicagoans.” — Linda Fields

“Nelson Algren, Saul Bellow and Aleksandar Hemon. They are great writers with distinctive approaches to their craft.” — Craig Barner

“Fred Hampton, Dr. Frances Cress Welsing and Dr. Tony Browder because they devoted their lives to research and loving Black people.” — Cheryl Jenkins Rainey

“Jack Brickhouse, Lloyd Pettit and Pat Piper. Oh the stories they could tell.

“The three Chicagoans I’d invite would be Mike Royko, Michael Jordan and Harry Carey — then sit back and enjoy the show.” — Jeff Kwit

“Buddy Guy to discuss his music and what it’s like owning a club. Ed Jones of the policy kings to get his take on how the Black community has changed. Richard M. Daley to discuss what it was like growing up as the son of the boss.” — Retta Turner

“Mother Frances Cabrini for her social work, work with immigrants and establishment of hospitals. Frank Lloyd Wright, for his architectural designs which still flourish today. And Margaret Hillis, who founded the Chicago Symphony Chorus, for her work in classical choral music as well as for guiding many young singers in their careers.” — Irena Nowak

“I would invite Mike Royko, the best columnist in my lifetime, Harold Washington, the best Mayor in my lifetime, and Carol Marin, the best newscaster in my lifetime.” — Mark Mardell

“I would invite Michelle and Barack Obama and Saul Bellow.” — Kaye Grabbe

“I would choose Mike Royko, Richard M. Daley and Rahm Emmanuel for my dinner party. It would be a joy to hear Royko grill the former mayors about their decisions while in office.” — Paul Moretta

“For a wonderfully varied conversation, and extending the term ‘Chicagoan’ to include those who have called it home at some point, I’d invite Jennifer Hudson, Bill Murray and Barack Obama. Representing the worlds of music, acting and politics, they would each have a ton of fun stories that would make the evening fly by!” — Paul Lockwood

Thanks for reading the Chicago Sun-Times Afternoon Edition.Got a story you think we missed? Email us here.

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