Andrew Charles Kopinski

Candidate for Cook County State's Attorney

Candidate Q&A

Why do you want to be Cook County State's Attorney?

The quality of life in Cook County has declined because of the increase in crime since 2015. Crime has spread out from certain high-crime areas. Crimes such as carjackings and shootings are taking place in previously high-quality neighborhoods such as a carjacking in the O’Hare neighborhood Jewel at Cumberland and Lawrence, the Portillos in Harwood Heights, and the Marianos in Park Ridge. A woman was shot and killed during a carjacking in Harwood Heights which never happened before. Things like this have caused a great deal of fear of crime in the public.

“Why is the prosecutor believed to occupy the most powerful position in the criminal justice system?

Prosecutors have the authority and power to make all of the following decisions, at their sole discretion, all of which affect criminal defendants and the criminal justice system in general: (1) the decision to charge; (2) types of charges; (3) whether to recommend granting or denying bail; (4) plea agreements- whether to entertain such agreements and if so, the terms; (5) sentencing recommendations.”

Why do you believe you are the most qualified candidate?

I am not controlled by either major political party or by any politicians. I have not been involved with or known the people involved with controversies at the State’s Attorney's office of the past. Being an outsider can be very beneficial in the current situation.

Do you think the Cook County State's Attorney’s Office is currently working well, or will you make major changes to the office? Why?

The Cook County State’s Attorney's Office is not working well as evidenced by the high turnover rate and the increase in property crime in Cook County. Kim Foxx is responsible for this.

How do you plan to recruit and retain high-quality prosecutors in light of recent high rates of turnover within the office?

High-quality prosecutors, like those at the top of other professions, work hard and are determined to contribute to society to make it better by pursuing justice against criminals. Soft-on-crime policies such as not charging shoplifters with a felony as long as they shoplift items worth less than $1,000 are very demoralizing.

Robberies and thefts are on the rise including carjackings, and car thefts which are up 233% compared with 2019, according to CPD statistics. Does the CCSAO do a good job prosecuting those crimes? Why or why not?

I am not an insider so my answer concerning doing a good job prosecuting those crimes is limited. However, it appears the overall criminal justice system is not working well since robberies and thefts including carjackings and car thefts have gone up dramatically. We will make all the necessary policy changes to stop this disastrous trend.

Do you support the elimination of cash bail included in the state’s new SAFE-T Act?

No, At least a policy of low bail should be maintained. For example, someone is accused of shoplifting $500. Being released on no bail provides no disincentive to go out and shoplift again. Bail equal to $500 would eliminate the short-term profit motive. Bail with a positive amount of two or three times the amount shoplifted, $1,000 or $1,500, would provide an economic disincentive to further shoplifting.

Does the elimination of cash bail send a signal that Illinois is soft on crime?

Yes, Illinois is losing with this economic disincentive to committing further crime. This has not worked in other places. In New York City, 10 individuals have been arrested for allegedly committing 500 crimes. Illinois will suffer as a result of this policy.

What, if any, part of the state’s SAFE-T Act criminal justice reform needs reworking?

The complete repeal of cash bail needs to be reworked. Low bail can be a deterrent to committing crime For example, someone is accused of shoplifting $500. Being released on no bail provides no disincentive to go out and shoplift again. Bail equal to $500 would eliminate the short-term profit motive. Bail with a punitive amount of two or three times the amount shoplifted, $1,000 or $1,500, would provide an economic disincentive to further shoplifting.

Will you continue Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx’s current felony prosecution policy for shoplifting cases (stolen goods must be worth at least $1,000 or a defendant must have 10 prior convictions)?

No, This will end on day one if I am elected State’s Attorney. This is the single worst policy enacted by Kim Foxx. This is the reason that robberies and smash-and-grab incidents are on the increase. Smash and grab incidents are a big step in the breakdown of our civilization and they need to be stopped. Businesses are closing and the public is suffering as a result. Theft losses are passed on to consumers.

If a police officer is a member of a known hate-or-extremist group such as the Proud Boys, should they be barred from testifying in court?

Possibly depending on the situation. The group and the extent of the officer's involvement in it need to be investigated on a case-by-case basis.

If a police officer has been brought up on charges of misconduct numerous times, should they be barred from testifying in court after a certain number of complaints?

No, Many of the accusations are false and are made by criminals and troublemakers with low credibility. Defense Attorneys should have access to this information and can attack the credibility of police officers in court when the time comes. The applicable police department is responsible for disciplining and possibly dismissing bad police officers and not the State’s Attorney's Office.

Will you prosecute people who do not register their assault weapons which is required after the Protect Illinois Communities Act passed and was signed into law?

No, The Protect Illinois Communities Act will be declared unconstitutional by the United States Supreme Court and has made law-abiding citizens criminals overnight. As States Attorney, my office will not prosecute citizens of Cook County for simply exercising their 2nd Amendment rights. Allowing only bolt action rifles and pump shotguns as the only long guns all you can own is inadequate for self-defense purposes. Only 3% of homicides are committed using long guns. I had a very interesting conversation about only banning 30 bullet magazines for AR-15 guns such as the Smith and Wesson MP 15 used in the Highland Park massacre. In certain states, new model MP 15s can only be sold with 10 bullet magazines.. However, these new guns are not physically incompatible with the old 30-bullet magazines. 30 bullet magazines can be bought across the state border at sporting goods stores such as Fleet and Farm for only $12! A criminal intent on killing people will have no problem breaking this bogus cosmetic, psychologically motivated ban. Finally, the 10 and 30-bullet magazines are compatible with AR-15-type weapons from multiple manufacturers. Thus, for example, if a person owns 4 AR-15 model guns all made by different manufacturers, the same 10 or 30 bullet magazines can be used interchangeably. This is not necessarily true for other types of rifles made by different manufacturers. Magazine changes can be made in seconds so the effects of magazine size in massacre situations are minimal.

What is your biggest goal if you are elected to lead the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office?

My biggest goal is to help significantly reduce violent crime and property crime in Cook County so that the people feel safer and more optimistic. They will want to continue to live and do business in Cook County. A culture of love and optimism needs to prevail over a culture of hate and fear among the people of Cook County.