Rinehart right choice for Lake County

Updated 6/22/2020 10:37 AM

The simultaneous COVID-19 and George Floyd crises have, from different directions, exposed serious shortcomings in our judicial system.

The virus has found a welcome home in our crowded jails and prisons, facilities whose very nature fosters disease spread while impeding treatment.


At local/county levels it is possible to reduce disease impact by reducing jail populations. Many residents in these facilities are there not because they have been convicted of an offense, but because they cannot pay bail, a situation of financial resources rather than legal culpability.

A New Jersey program eliminating cash bail has been shown to dramatically reduce jail populations without endangering public safety.

The death of George Floyd crystallizes the need for the fair and equitable administration of justice across our diverse society. This includes holding our law enforcement and court systems accountable to the rule of law.

But how can we implement corrective actions, and what is the connection between a remedy for jail overcrowding and police/judicial systems accountability? At the county level the Office of the State's Attorney wields considerable authority in both domains.

Attorney Eric Rinehart is a candidate for State's Attorney in Lake County. He has worked as a defense attorney in Lake County for 18 years and is intimately familiar with its judicial system.

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Mr. Rinehart is in the mold of the new progressive state's attorneys who are committed to public safety first, yet acutely aware of critical flaws in our judicial system. His election would be a significant step forward in addressing these issues in Lake County.

Gary Oltmans


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