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Chicago prosecutor quits abruptly, blames failed Democrat leadership for making his family less safe

By Jimmy Adeel
|
May 10, 2023

Veteran Chicago prosecutor Jason Poje resigned from his position and planned to leave the state after sending a scathing letter to eighty-five colleagues, criticizing officials for following a "popular political agenda" that has led to a surge in violent crime.

Poje, a felony trial attorney with the Cook County State Attorney's Office, claimed that several progressive reforms have made the city more dangerous for everyone, Daily Mail reported.

Chicago Crime Rate Skyrockets

The latest figures reveal that crime in Chicago has increased by 58% since Mayor Lori Lightfoot took office. Murder rates have risen 11%, robbery by one-third, and vehicle theft by 237% since 2019.

In his resignation letter, Poje cited the impact of the city's crime on his family, explaining that his five-year-old son frequently hears gunfire and encounters drug dealers in their neighborhood.

Failed Policies and Reforms

In his letter, Poje outlined a series of reforms backed by Mayor Lightfoot and Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker that he believes have led to more crime.

Poje criticized bond reform, arguing that it has made the city less safe. He said the reform ensures that no one stays in jail while their cases are pending without providing a safety net to handle more criminals on the streets.

He also pointed out issues such as shorter parole periods, lower sentences for repeat offenders, and the malicious prosecution of law enforcement officers.

Poje claimed that the overuse of diversion programs, intentionally not pursuing prosecutions for crimes lawfully on the books, and other so-called reforms have directly impacted the city, with consequences that will last for a generation.

Mayor Lightfoot & State Attorney Kim Foxx

Mayor Lightfoot, Chicago's first black woman, and openly gay mayor, failed to win re-election in March, making her the city's first one-term mayor in four decades.

Although he never mentioned her by name, Poje's letter made it clear that he had enough of Cook County State Attorney Kim Foxx, who was nominated in 2016 and re-elected in 2020. Her office is the second-largest prosecutor's office in the country.

Poje accused the office of failing to think for a moment before rushing into one popular political agenda after another, putting his family directly in harm's way.

He cited the increase in crime of all kinds, businesses and families leaving the city, and the mounting death toll as consequences of these policies, while the State's Attorney insists there is nothing to see and, if there is, it must be someone else's fault.

Tipping the Scales of Justice

Poje argued that the progressive reforms have unfairly tipped the scale of justice in favor of criminals and their defense attorneys. He stated that when both sides vigorously defend their positions, a balance is reached between protecting rights while preserving order and safety.

However, when prosecutors do too much of the defense's job or decide it's worth risking citizens' lives for a "social experiment," that balance is lost.

Personal Impact and Leaving Illinois

Poje shared that he and his family had moved to a quiet part of the suburbs to raise his five-year-old son safely, but now his son wakes up to the sound of gunshots. He has decided to move out of Illinois, his native state, saying, "I will not raise my son here."

He expressed his disappointment in his employer for turning the state into a place he is no longer proud of and where his son is not safe. He considers himself fortunate to have the means to escape and plans for his entire family to leave Illinois.

In his letter, Poje lamented the direction the state and county have taken, stating that they have set themselves on a course to disaster. He expressed frustration that the agency he worked for has backed every policy change that has predictably led to more crime and more people getting hurt.

As a result, this veteran prosecutor has chosen to resign from his position and leave the state in search of a safer environment for his family.

Colleagues Respond to Poje's Departure

Poje's former colleagues have described him as one of the hardest-working men they have ever worked with. In his resignation letter, Poje expressed regret for leaving his colleagues in the trenches but stated that his family's safety had to come first.

He signed off by wishing his former colleagues well and expressing his hope for a return to common sense and security in their communities.

Poje's departure comes less than a year after another Cook County prosecutor, Jim Murphy, resigned in protest at the leadership of Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx.