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posted: 10/18/2012 5:00 AM

Endorsement: Nerheim over Kennedy for Lake County state's attorney

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Lake County's next state's attorney faces the task of rebuilding faith and trust in the office shaken by high-profile wrongful convictions in recent years. Republican Mike Nerheim of Gurnee and Democrat Chris Kennedy of Libertyville, both former prosecutors now in private practice, offer many ambitious ideas to push the office forward. Each promises to boost trust with creation of panels to review selected old cases for possible false confessions and wrongful convictions. Kennedy's would be in-house; Nerheim's would use outside volunteer experts. Both say their panels will change rules and protocols and make sure physical evidence, such as DNA material, is treated properly. They promise better transparency and a new focus on crimes including gangs. While each candidate has solid credentials, we believe Nerheim's private practice experience as a criminal defense attorney gives him an edge in the turnaround. Going head-to-head against prosecutors daily on the types of felony cases at the root of the office's problems provides a unique perspective. We like the independent nature of his case review concept. His criminal defense work includes juvenile misdemeanor, traffic and civil litigation. Kennedy's work in private practice is mostly civil. We support Nerheim.

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