February 5th Primary for State’s Attorney

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1. What are your qualifications and why did you decide to
run for the office?
Greetings Champaign County,
My name is Alfred D. Ivy, III and I am running for State’s
Attorney of Champaign County in the upcoming February
5th Democratic Primary election, and I would like your
support. To aid in your decision-making, I would like to
take a few moments to introduce myself to you by answering
three questions posed by reporters at the Public i newspaper.
I trust by the end of my letter you will: 1. Understand
my qualifications for State’s Attorney and why I am
running for public office; 2. Share my vision for building
better relationships between our community and law
enforcement; and 3. Agree that changes need to be made to
our local criminal justice system. I also trust that on February
5, 2008, I can count on your vote for positive change.
Presently, I reside and practice law in Champaign County,
working primarily in the areas of criminal defense, family
law, personal injury and discrimination. As an attorney, I
handle legal matters in courts all over the state, up I-57 to
Chicago, across I-74 from Peoria to Danville, and down I-
72 into Decatur and Springfield. I have worked with youth
and supported scholarship as an elementary school teacher,
college instructor and academic outreach professional.
When asked what I do, I respond, “I help people.” I’m running
because I care to make a difference.
2. What is your vision for law enforcement in Champaign
Every person I speak with about my campaign makes me
promise to do something about the rampant unfairness in
the justice system. They say, “Mr. Ivy, we’re not asking you to
be soft on crime, but at least be fair.” It is unfair that individuals
who reside in certain areas of Champaign County are
treated more harshly in charging and sentencing than those
from other neighborhoods. It is unfair that plea offers made
by one assistant state’s attorney differ drastically from offers
made another attorney in the same office because there is
very little oversight or diversity. My vision for law enforcement
in Champaign County is that we can work together
and create a model for justice that other counties might copy.
The State’s Attorney of Champaign County is the highest
law enforcement official in this county. As such, the duty to
protect our citizens is of paramount importance. Simply
arresting everyone and imprisoning our problems is not
working, and honestly, it never has. The collective “we” can
no longer sit idly by secure in “our” belief that what occurs to
other persons does not impact “us.” The truth is that each of
“us” will have some contact with law enforcement and every
one of “us” wants a fair process, whether that fairness is for
ourselves or a loved one. My vision for law enforcement in
Champaign County is one of relationship-building and crime
prevention, as opposed to pure criminal prosecution.
3. What changes do you see need to be made in local law
Too often, I receive phone calls from citizens complaining
of civil rights violations and negative interactions with
police or other law enforcement personnel. As a result,
many people mistrust law enforcement, whether those
contacts be with police, corrections officers or the State’s
Attorney’s Office. Therefore, when matters of importance
arise, the connections and trust needed to solve or prevent
crimes, our citizens refuse to come forward. If elected, I
would be visible and active, working to repair the relationship
between law enforcement and the community to
encourage early reporting of potential criminal matters and
provide greater support to victims of crime.
If elected State’s Attorney of Champaign County, I
would change the screening process for charges and pursue
a dual-level review for accuracy and fairness before
arraignment. We should continue to encourage the use of
station-adjustments by the police departments for petty
and non-violent juvenile offenses. I would encourage the
use of continuances under supervision and work more
closely with the Department of Children and Family Services
to keep families intact whenever possible. I would
review our sentencing options and encourage assistant
state’s attorneys to make fair plea offers, regardless of
socio-economic status. I would raise community awareness
of common offenses and ways to avoid future legal
problems, such as driving under suspension.
Yet, every change and improvement requires your support.
Vote before February 5, 2008.
Thank you,
Alfred D. Ivy, III
1. What are your qualifications and why did you decide to
run for the office?
After graduating from the University of Illinois College of
Law in 1993, I began my legal career as an Assistant State’s
Attorney in the Champaign County State’s Attorney’s
Office, serving for seven years, prosecuting cases ranging
from traffic to homicides, and focusing on child abuse and
neglect. In 1999, I moved to the western Chicago suburbs.
My family soon realized that we preferred living in Champaign
County. I returned and joined Beckett & Webber,
becoming a partner, focusing on family law, defending
young people in juvenile delinquency cases, and representing
women in DCFS proceedings.
As an Assistant State’s Attorney, I learned to respect the prosecutor’s
power to affect the lives of both victims and those
accused of committing crimes, through prosecutorial discretion
in charging decisions and law enforcement. My understanding
of that grew in private practice, where I represented people
caught in the legal system. I believe in the words of Supreme
Court Justice Robert Jackson, “the citizen’s safety lies in the
prosecutor who tempers zeal with human kindness, who seeks
truth and not victims, who serves the law and not factional purposes,
and who approaches his task with humility.” In 2002, I
ran for State’s Attorney because I was disappointed with the
direction the office was taking at that time. I was elected in
November, 2004, winning 63% of the vote, the first female
State’s Attorney in Champaign County (one of only 6 in the
state) and the first Democrat in the office in over 28 years.
As State’s Attorney, I work to ensure that we live up to Justice
Jackson’s standards. I am proud to have brought respect
and integrity back to the State’s Attorney’s Office, and look
forward to continuing to serve Champaign County.
2. What is your vision for law enforcement in Champaign
As State’s Attorney, I am responsible for one aspect of law
enforcement, criminal prosecution. I believe in the ethical
obligation of Illinois Supreme Court Rule 3.8, “the first
duty of a public prosecutor is to do justice, not merely to
convict.” Prosecutors have the unique power to affect an
individual’s liberty, property and life, and the unique obligation
to ensure individual and public safety. To fulfill our
ethical duty to do justice, we must balance these powers
and obligations by making decisions based on evidence
and law, not on politics and emotion.
I also believe in the principles of Balanced and Restorative
Justice. Crime hurts victims, communities, and offenders.
The justice system has a duty to make things right for all
affected by repairing the harm done to victims and the community,
by holding offenders accountable, and by rehabilitating
those offenders who accept responsibility for their behavior
and make positive changes in their lives. To that end, I
support rehabilitative programs such as Drug Court, Adult
Diversion, and station adjustments for juvenile delinquents. I
also recognize the need to protect our community from those
who, despite our efforts, refuse to follow the law. By their
actions and choices, they cause immeasurable harm to our
community. They must be held accountable for their crimes,
to send the message that such behavior will not be tolerated
and to protect the community from future criminal acts.
3. What changes do you see need to be made in local law
We have made significant changes in the justice system over
the past three years. The creation of uniform charging policies
has resulted in increased use of court diversion, decreased
felony charging, increased overall convictions, and appropriate
use of resources. Better communication and oversight of
pre-trial bond procedures has led to a significant decrease in
the jail population. Policies and practices within the criminal
justice system are only one piece of the puzzle, however. The
best way to affect change in our system and community is
through local, grassroots based work, particularly with regard
to delinquency prevention. I am encouraged by the growth of
organizations such as Mission 180, Operation Snowball, the
Boys and Girls Club Jump program, and Edison Middle
School’s Society of Gentlemen. By working with and supporting
these programs we will best be able to affect change by
helping our young people become productive members of the
community and stay out of the criminal justice system.

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