Lori S. Yokoyama, the Republican who is challenging Democrat Anita Alvarez for Cook County state’s attorney, today criticized Alvarez’s seven-month-old Conviction Integrity Unit.
Yokoyama called on Alvarez “to explain why she continues to use office resources to fight the exonerations of several wrongfully accused men, while trumpeting the results of the Conviction Integrity Unit. The CIU, which is comprised of three Assistant States Attorney’s and woefully understaffed, has only released one wrongfully convicted person in 2012.”
Yokoyama also argued that, “For the last two years, Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez fought against the DNA evidence that later set Mr. [Alprentiss] Nash free.”
Alvarez spokeswoman Sally Daly agreed the unit is understaffed. But Daly disputed Yokoyama’s claim that Alvarez fought against DNA testing for Nash.
In a press release, Yokoyama also said, “”With the extraordinarily high numbers of wrongfully convicted people in Cook County, it is shocking that Anita Alvarez waited three years to create a conviction review process. The Conviction Integrity Unit needs to be provided with additional assistant state’s attorneys and investigators in order to right the past wrongs of Anita Alvarez’ office and ensure that justice is truly served.”
Read a Sun-Times editorial about the Conviction Integrity Unit here.
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