Gazette Endorsement: State’s Attorney
November 1, 2012
Lori S. Yokoyama.

Incumbent Democratic State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez’s term has not been without controversy. She has received criticism from the Innocence Project for moving slowly on utilizing on new DNA evidence that the organization believes could exonerate several incarcerated men.

However, she gets high marks for her response — a new Conviction Integrity Unit that has already reversed a 15-year-old wrongful conviction.

Her prosecution for eavesdropping of Tawanda Moore, a woman who recorded police investigators when, Moore alleged, one of them groped her, was inexplicable and a waste of time. Cook County Judge Michael Toomin has been critical of the way Alvarez’s office handled the investigation of the death of David Koschman, allegedly at the hands of a relative of former Mayor Richard M. Daley’s.

We do like Alvarez’s vocal opposition to the proliferation of guns and to concealed carry. Alvarez drafted an Illinois law that increases criminal penalties for street gang members with loaded weapons. She has formed a new unit to investigate human trafficking, reorganized the office’s public corruption unit, and has tackled mortgage fraud.

Republican Lori Yokoyama suggests alternative sentencing for marijuana possession and non-violent misdemeanors, noting that prosecution of these crimes costs the county millions of dollars. She would expand the Illinois RICO statute to include public corruption. Yokoyama also is critical of Alvarez’s handling of the Koschman case, and promises a vigorous prosecution if elected.

Yokoyama has plenty of experience. She founded her own firm, worked for several others, and has a long list of accomplishments in the civic and community arenas, including advisor to Senator Mark Kirk and the DePaul University College of Law, board member of the Japan America Society of Chicago, and former vice chair of the Illinois State Bar Association Judicial Evaluation Committee.

Both are from this community, Alvarez having attended St. Paul-Our Lady of Vilna School in Pilsen, and Yokoyama being the 4th Ward Republican Committeeman.

With Cook County dominated by the Democratic Party, and its history of political corruption, State’s Attorney is one office where a Republican could really do some good for the residents in bringing a fresh look at allegations of malfeasance in government. The Gazette supports Lori S. Yokoyama for Cook County State’s Attorney.