FILE - Jim Durkin

Illinois House Minority Leader Jim Durkin R-Western Springs

(The Center Square) – Republican lawmakers said a new bill introduced Monday was prompted by the Cook County State’s Attorney's decision not to pursue criminal charges in two felony cases.

House Minority Leader Jim Durkin, R-Western Springs, said Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx has dropped the ball on charging criminals for their crimes by pushing some cases into continuing investigations.

“The problem that we see is real and has resulted in hardened criminals and bad actors avoiding responsibility for their crimes, ultimately making our streets less safe,” Durkin said during a news conference.

He has House Bill 4176 he said would give local police in Cook County the ability to override the rejection or continuing investigation of a forcible felony and bring about more transparency.

"This legislation will also require the state’s attorney to record and make public each forcible felony where charges have been rejected or designated as continuing investigation,” Durkin said.

Foxx’s office didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment before press time. Tuesday, Foxx's office responded. 

"Pursuing justice requires that prosecutors act with integrity and meet the ethical standards to bring charges against persons committing crimes," the statement from Foxx's office said. "Evidence must support those charges. In Suburban Cook County, the CCSAO approves 85% of cases, and if there is an insufficient amount of evidence, we continue to work with law enforcement to bring new evidence. The current system allows for checks and balances in the criminal justice system where police investigate and the CCSAO prosecutes."  

Durkin said the bill shouldn’t be political.

“Chicago has turned into a war zone and the war zone is making its way into the suburbs,” Durkin said.

The measure was filed Monday. It’s unclear if it will get a hearing with lawmakers returning to Springfield on Tuesday.

A few weeks ago, other Republicans offered up a package of bills they said will give law enforcement more tools to combat rising crime across the state. State Sen. John Curran, R-Downers Grove, said some of those bills included focusing on illegal guns, something Durkin’s bill also addresses.

“In terms of giving a process to push back on what’s going on which is looking the other way being done with the state’s attorney’s office with individuals who illegally possess firearms,” Curran said.

It’s unclear if the Republican bills will advance as lawmakers return to Springfield Tuesday.

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Staff Reporter

Greg Bishop reports on Illinois government and other issues for The Center Square. Bishop has years of award-winning broadcast experience and hosts the WMAY Morning Newsfeed out of Springfield.