‘I DON’T WANT KIM FOXX TO RESIGN, I WANT HER TO DO HER JOB’
“Ms. Foxx must fulfill her responsibility to protect the community and be a voice for victims,” former rival Pat O’Brien says in editorial.
The following op-ed is submitted to Patch by the Hon. Pat O’Brien, who served in the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office where he was a high ranking prosecutor. He was elected twice as judge presiding over the 1st Municipal District for eight years before returning to private practice. He ran unsuccessfully as a Republican in the 2020 Cook County State’s Attorney race.
CHICAGO — Twelve-year-old Cire Robinson of Oak Lawn was killed on Jan. 20 while a passenger in her father’s car. Daniel Regalado after drinking, then speeding and crossing into oncoming traffic was charged with reckless homicide, among other offenses, in her death.
At the time of the reckless homicide, Regalado was out on bond in multiple felony cases. Oak Lawn Mayor Sandra Bury has justly criticized Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx calling for her resignation, and in response, Ms. Foxx has called the mayor’s criticism political. At this moment, nothing has changed to protect the community from other Daniel Regalados who are released on bond with multiple pending felony cases only to commit other crimes.
Safety of the Community and Voice for Victims
There is an urgent need to take action to address this dangerous situation and to provide safety for the residents of Cook County and a voice for victims. I support and understand Mayor Bury’s outrage at the situation which permitted Regalado to be on bond having multiple pending felony cases. I do not believe her criticism is political. Further, I do not believe that Ms. Foxx will resign. 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 fulfil her responsibility to protect the community and be a voice for victims.
Particulars of the Daniel Regalado Case
Prosecutors allege that on Jan. 20 Daniel Regalado was driving 66mph in a 30-mph zone after consuming alcohol. Regalado crossed into oncoming traffic and struck the Robinson’s car killing Cire and seriously injuring her father and three other persons. At the time of this Reckless Homicide, Mr. Regalado had three pending felony cases in Cook County:
1. 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. He posted a $500 bond without prosecutor’s objection or appeal;
2. 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;
3. 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.
Each successive case violated the terms of his previous bail conditions which state that he “not violate any criminal statute.” Where a criminal offender is free on bond and commits another crime, a prosecutor may ask the court to increase or revoke bail. Further, Ms. Foxx’s office could appeal any judge’s bail order to which they objected. 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.
Suggested Actions by State’s Attorney Foxx
At the initial bond hearing, Ms. Foxx’s office should examine each defendant on a case-by-case basis, forcefully recommend an appropriate bond and argue the facts supporting that recommendation. 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 number of defendants with pending felony cases who are on bond, then rearrested for another felony will only continue to increase. Ms. Foxx has supported the “affordable bail” program which is currently in practice. In 2020, at least 32 individuals charged with murder, attempted murder and aggravated battery with a firearm were free on “affordable bail” at the time of the murders. This situation provides a reason to reevaluate how defendants are placed on bail and if they are appropriately monitored.
Ms. Foxx has also supported the new legislation awaiting the governor’s signature which includes provisions eliminating cash bail entirely. This legislation, if signed, will generate more individuals charged with felonies on “pretrial release” without the additional resources to monitor whether they are complying with the conditions of their release. That means, quite simply, that violent offenders released on bail will not be adequately monitored. That is already a problem – there are not enough sheriffs to monitor those on bond and electronic monitoring does not include GPS. Without GPS, electronic monitoring does nothing more than indicate that a defendant has left his or her home. Though the new legislation would not be effective until 2023, there are no additional funds provided in the legislation for the necessary equipment, such as GPS monitoring, or for added Sheriff’s personnel.
These “pretrial release” provisions, along with other changes contained in the legislation, are detrimental to public safety. 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.
I am not requesting that Ms. Foxx resign. I am requesting that Ms. Foxx do her job.
Honorable Pat O’Brien (ret.)