A Libertyville Democrat on Thursday became the first person to announce his candidacy for Lake County state's attorney in 2012.
Christopher Kennedy, a former assistant under current state's attorney Michael Waller in the 1990s, pledged to provide "an energetic and positive vision" for the office if he is elected.
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Speaking to a crowd of supporters in Cook Park in Libertyville, Kennedy proposed the creation of a unit within the prosecutor's office to review DNA evidence in past cases and to monitor the prosecution of serious crimes.
"For too long, and in too many cases, questions have been raised about DNA evidence, resulting in accusations of injustice, compromised public safety and taxpayer expense," Kennedy said. "It is time for new leadership and a new direction."
He did not cite any specific cases, but was likely referring to the release of Jerry Hobbs last year after DNA evidence linked another man to the 2005 murders of two Zion girls, and questions recently raised about James Edwards' 1996 conviction for the murder of a Waukegan businessman among others.
Kennedy served as an assistant state's attorney from 1994 until 1998, then went into private practice with a Lake Forest firm.
He has been recognized as a leading advocate for the disabled in the state and was an unsuccessful candidate for circuit court judge in 2010.
Kennedy spoke to a group of supporters that included State Sen. Terry Link, the chairman of the county's Democratic Party, and State Rep. Karen May of Vernon Hills.
Waller, a Republican who has served as state's attorney since 1990, has not yet announced his plans for the 2012 and declined to comment on Kennedy's announcement Thursday.