Christopher E. K. Pfannkuche: Candidate Profile
Cook County State's Attorney (Republican)
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Note: Answers provided have not been edited for grammar, misspellings or typos. In some instances, candidate claims that could not be immediately verified have been omitted.
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Family: Single, no children.
Education: Loyola University Of Chicago - B.S. In Education (Magna Cum Laude), B.A. In Political Science (Cum Laude), Loyola University Of Chicago School Of Law - J.D.,
Civic involvement: C.A.P., United States Air Force, Auxiliary - Rank: Captain & Legal Officer, Uptown Legal Aid Clinic Volunteer, DeVry University Professor - Law, Business & Society, St. Scholastica Instructor - The American Legal System, Chicago City Colleges Instructor, American Bar Association National Symposium Lecturer, Northwestern Law School Mock Trial Judge, Chicago Police Academy Lecturer, Police Training Seminar Instructor, Illinois Traffic Institute Lecturer, Drunk Driving Awareness Lecturer, Expungement Seminars Lecturer, Northwest Suburban Bar Association Executive Board Member
Elected offices held: I have never run for public elected office before. I was sworn in as a Prosecutor for the Cook County State's Attorney's office and served as an officer of the court.
To what extent do you perceive that there is widespread mistrust of the Cook County justice system, particularly among black residents? What, if any, changes are needed in the state's attorney's office to address this?
The current State's Attorney has created mistrust in our criminal justice system in handling the Laquan McDonald case.
This office needs to become more transparent and do a better job of keeping the public informed.
The job of Cook County State's Attorney must be filled with a person experienced in the law. After 31 years as a career prosecutor I am exceptionally well qualified to assume the duties of the State's Attorney. My opponent has exaggerated what little prosecutorial experience she does possess and served her brief career in public life as a political appointee.
Experienced prosecutor or unqualified politician.
Is the state's attorney's office biased toward police, whether in determining when to press charges in criminal arrests or in cases of police misconduct? Please give examples.
The police officer is a sworn public servant whose purpose is to serve and protect. The presumption is that the officer is enforcing the law. It does not mean that an officer never lies or commits a crime, but that the presumption exists that he is not. Prosecutors and judges are lines of defense for defendants if they don't believe police versions of events.
The Laquan McDonald case brought bias into question.
I will establish an independent police misconduct unit within this office, staffed by experienced prosecutors, who will not rotate into any other units, answerable directly to me.
What should Northwest suburban voters, specifically, know about how you would operate as state's attorney?
I have only worked as an attorney and career prosecutor and I am the only qualified candidate for this office. I worked for the Cook County State's Attorney's Office from 1981-2011 an served in the Criminal Felony Review Unit as Trial Supervisor, Felony Trial Division, Homicide & Sex Offense Prosecution Unit, Public Integrity / Official Misconduct Unit, Financial Crimes / Governmental Fraud Unit, Night Narcotics Court Prosecution Unit, Financial Crimes / Governmental Fraud Unit. I have argued before the Illinois Appellate Court and served as a Special Independent Prosecutor.
What, if any, organizational changes within the office would you make to address specific crime issues in Cook County, particularly regarding drugs and guns.
I would allow seasoned prosecutors to decide the plea bargains in minor criminal cases so that the backlog of cases clogging the courts and the jails is eliminated. Right now, it is a top down micro-managed system where the bosses aren't trusting the judgment of people they hire event though they insist they are qualified to serve as prosecutors.
List any relations (including those related to you by marriage and nieces/nephews) who are on the public payroll in Illinois, their jobs and who they work for.
What other issues, if any, are important to you as a candidate for this office?
I will refocus this office on prosecuting violent criminal offenders. I will eliminate the jailing of non-violent first time felony offenders and misdemeanor offenders to reduce crowding in the Cook County jail. The Alvarez system crowds the 9,000 person capacity jail unnecessarily with at an average cost to taxpayers of $150 day for a total of $1,350,000 per day minimum. I will allow ASA's to prioritize drug offense cases to emphasize the prosecution of drug dealers instead of minor personal possession or usage.
Please name one current leader who most inspires you.
Angela Merkel, German Chancellor, who has worked hard to preserve the European Union as one large community.
What is the biggest lesson you learned at home growing up?
That everyone makes mistakes. One should not be held back because of one's mistakes, but should learn from them, and move forward.
If life gave you one do-over, what would you spend it on?
To have spent more quality time with family, to better learn the roots from whence I came and the struggles they endured and overcame.
What was your favorite subject in school and how did it help you in later life?
History, because history often repeats itself, and serves to help us understand the past and as a predictor of the future.
If you could give your children only one piece of advice, what would it be?
Never give up. Learn from your mistakes, dust yourself off and always move forward.