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posted: 11/2/2012 5:00 AM

Prosecutor's office needs clean sweep

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Your endorsement of Michael Nerheim rather than Chris Kennedy for state's attorney of Lake County misses the essential reason why a complete change is needed at the top of that office.

The crucial issue in this election is how best to repair the serious damage done to the reputation of the office. During the outgoing administration, four men were prosecuted and convicted, and a fifth imprisoned, for crimes they did not commit. Before exoneration, they spent a combined total of over 67 years behind bars.

One of the real perpetrators committed another murder before being caught; three others are presumably still at large. A $9 million civil damage award was entered in one case, and millions more will surely be sought.

Neither personal nor partisan political issues are involved. We believe Mr. Nerheim is an honorable man, and did not participate in the office's misdeeds, but he is closely connected to the current leadership of the office, many of whom have endorsed him. A complete change of leadership at the top of the state's attorney's office is required to restore the appearance as well as reality of integrity within the office, which controls prosecutions and oversees important criminal investigations throughout Lake County.

Chris Kennedy is an experienced lawyer with an unblemished record. He intends to hire an experienced prosecutor with no prior connections to Lake County, to help ensure that the internal workings of the office comply with the highest ethical standards. He is committed to bringing about needed changes, and adhering to the Illinois Supreme Court rule, "The duty of a public prosecutor is to seek justice, not merely to convict."

Thomas Sullivan, Terri L. Mascherin, Jane E. Raley, Ronald S. Safer, Jeffrey Urdangen, Chicago

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