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About the Candidate

Name: Christopher E. K. Pfannkuche
DOB: May 1, 1955
Occupation: Attorney
Political Experience: None / Never held elective office.
Website: VoteChristopher.com
Twitter: @VoteCP2020

Candidate Statement

Hello – My name is Christopher Pfannkuche and I am running for Cook County State’s Attorney.

I am running because I am deeply troubled by the unprosecuted corruption in this county, the violence plaguing our communities, the deaths from the opioid drug epidemic, and a failure to enforce the laws.

Cook County needs an EXPERIENCED LEADER, and I am that experienced leader.

I am a career criminal prosecutor having served for three different government agencies: the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office for 31 years, the Special Independent Prosecutor’s Office, and the Macon County State’s Attorney’s Office.

I have handled thousands of criminal cases. I have sat on the Executive Boards of attorney Bar Associations. As a university professor, I taught criminal law.

I am a police training instructor. I wrote the book on “Search Warrants” and the official “Expungement Guide” used in Cook County.

I am the Legal Advisor for the Metropolitan Crime Commission.

Years ago, I prosecuted a case that was the first of its kind in the nation and my case set legal precedent for prosecutors to use across the nation.

In 2017, I was under consideration for a Presidential appointment to be named the next top U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois.

I worked for the State’s Attorney’s Office far longer than any other candidate, fighting for justice. – EXPERIENCE MATTERS.

This is my platform:

CORRUPTION: I will follow the trail of facts and credible evidence to prosecute corruption, wherever it occurs.

VIOLENCE: I will focus on prosecuting violent and repeat offenders to get them off our streets.

OPIOID DRUG EPIDEMIC: I will take swift action against the major drug dealers pumping deadly opioids like heroin and fentanyl into our neighborhoods.

NON-VIOLENT FIRST OFFENDERS: I believe in both deferred prosecution and expungement programs.

COMMUNITY OUTREACH PROGRAMS: I will send my 700 prosecutors out to our communities to regularly meet with community leaders.

I have one goal –“Seek Justice”.

The people of Cook County deserve to have confidence in their State’s Attorney.

Experience DOES matter … and I have that experience. Christopher Pfannkuche for Cook Co State’s Attorney. My Website is: votechristopher.com.

Thank you.

Candidate Q&A

Why are you running?

I am running for Cook County State’s Attorney because I am deeply troubled by the unprosecuted corruption in this county, the violence plaguing our communities, the deaths from the opioid drug epidemic, a failure to enforce the laws, and the controversial handling of the Jussie Smollett case. I have heard the complaints from law enforcement that they do their job but often cannot get charges approved by the State’s Attoney. Whether you live in Cook County, or just have a business here, all of this is negatively impacting your lives!

Many residents are afraid to walk their streets or send their children out to play. Neighborhoods are not safe. Police feel demoralized. People have lost trust and confidence in our criminal justice system.

Cook County needs an EXPERIENCED LEADER, and I am that experienced leader, to tackle these problems and get real results. I am a career criminal prosecutor having worked for three different government agencies: The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office for 31 years, serving as a Trial Supervisor, the Special Independent Prosecutor’s Office, and the Macon County State’s Attorney’s Office. I have handled thousands of criminal cases. My litigation experience is extensive. My managerial background is extensive, as well. I have served as a Trial Supervisor. I have sat on the Executive Boards of attorney Bar Associations. As a university professor, I have taught criminal law. As a police training instructor, I train police officers. As a published legal author, I wrote the book on “Search Warrants” and the official “Expungement Guide” used in Cook County. I currently serve as the Legal Advisor for the Chicagoland Metropolitan Crime Commission. Years ago, I prosecuted a case that was the first of its kind in the nation. As a result, I served as the keynote speaker at an American Bar Association national symposium in Washington, D.C. My case set national legal precedent for prosecutors to use across the nation. In 2017, I was under formal consideration for a Presidential appointment to be named the next top U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois. I have the requisite legal knowledge, experience & demonstrated ability to lead this office … and I will FIX our broken criminal justice system.

I worked for the State’s Attorney’s Office far longer than any other candidate, fighting for justice. No other candidate has the experience to do this job properly.  – EXPERIENCE MATTERS.

What is your vision for this office?

Our residents have lost trust and confidence in our criminal justice system. I intend to rebuild that trust and confidence by making the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office one of the most professional and respected prosecutor’s offices in the nation. The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office should be viewed as one of the finest, most professional prosecutor’s offices in the nation with the best trained and skilled prosecutors, but only a State’s Attorney with extensive experience and insight like myself can make that happen. I intend to be proactive, not simply reactive. I will prioritize action on the major problems that Cook County faces: public corruption, an epidemic of violence, and an opioid drug epidemic to make our communities safer.

My staff of 700+ prosecutors will undergo regular, in‐house training, with occasional outside guest lecturers. This training would focus on improving both litigation and interaction skills. We would develop a database library of sample motions, responses, and legal research that would be instantly available to prosecutors throughout the office. Recurring training topics would include: opening statements, direct examination, cross examination, closing arguments, motion litigation, proper evidence presentation, and PowerPoint presentation trial skill training.

My office will focus more on “seeking justice” than getting convictions. In view of the studies that have shown that mass incarceration does not effectively deter crime, my office will appropriately and selectively utilize both deferred prosecution programs and expungement programs to keep low‐level non‐violent offenders out of our court system and correctional facilities. We must end the “school‐to‐prison pipeline”.

Transparency will also be a priority. There will be no Jussie Smollett controversies, conflicts of interest, or back‐room deals for “special” people. My office will endeavor to educate the public as to why we do what we do.

I will establish a major community outreach program. I have the experience and connections with both law enforcement and community leaders across Cook County to rebuild the bonds of trust and restore confidence in our criminal justice system. I will accomplish this by regularly sending my more than 700 prosecutors out into our communities: 1) to regularly meet with community leaders; 2) to rebuild strong ties with our communities; and 3) to work towards breaking the code of silence in our communities, where many crime victims and witnesses are afraid to come forward.

In the process we need to reach out to the youth in our communities before the gangs can get to them, by way of youth ambassador programs, internship programs, mock trials, and attorney mentoring programs to get them involved in the criminal justice system in a positive way before the gangs can get to them.

What do you think is the most pressing issue facing your constituents and how do you plan on addressing it?

The violence plaguing our communities is clearly the most pressing issue in Cook County. Sadly, many of our neighborhoods have become unsafe. Street gangs are the driving force behind much of the gun violence, the illegal narcotics trafficking on the streets, and the recent flash mobs of youths plaguing our shopping districts and stores. This often erupts in turf battles among rival gang members. We must break the stranglehold that gangs have over so many of our communities. With this in mind, my priority would be to focus on violent and repeat offenders, particularly gang offenders, to get them off the streets, curb the gun violence, and make our communities safer.

It is completely unacceptable to have holiday weekends like Memorial Day weekend in 2019 where fifty‐two people were shot and eight were killed, funeral memorial services where thirteen people were shot, people getting gunned‐down on the steps of churches, five people shot in a barber shop, and our children getting shot and killed for simply walking down the streets in their own neighborhoods.

By working closely with community leaders, residents, and first responders through my community outreach initiative that I outlined above I intend to be proactive, not reactive, on preventing some of this violent crime before it occurs and by breaking the code of silence in our communities, where many crime victims and witnesses are afraid to come forward.

Given the fact that the State’s Attorney’s Office has budgetary, staffing, and resource limitations, coming up with creative solutions is a necessity to do this job effectively. With that in mind, I would look to form joint task forces with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and a variety of other federal and local law enforcement agencies to combine resources, get better results in court, effectively save taxpayer money in the process, and make our communities safer.

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