Kim Foxx

Cook County Won't Prosecute Low-Level Drug Offenses During Coronavirus Pandemic

Prosecutors said they will also prioritize other charges on a case-by-case basis

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Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx announced Friday her office won't prosecute non-violent, low-level drug offenses amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office will also continue to review and prioritize other charges on a case-by-case basis during the public health crisis, according to a news release.

The decision is aimed at protecting the health and safety of first responders, medical professionals, jail staff and the community, Foxx added in the news release.

With the Illinois State Police Forensic Sciences Command laboratory system closed for submitting routine evidence, the SAO is only allowed to submit evidence for emergency testing in cases involving violent crimes and crimes against persons.

Under normal circumstances, individuals charged with non-violent, low-level offenses would be eligible for release with pre-trial monitoring or diverted to a community-based alternative prosecution program, officials said.

As it stands, individuals arrested and charged with minor, non-violent felony offenses spend up to 48 hours in custody before the SAO is able to dismiss the case at bond court. These in-custody conditions increase the opportunity for the spread of COVID-19, Foxx added.

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