Restoring Justice in Lake County 03/03/2012

NEWS ALERT: For Immediate Release
Mothers On a Mission to Stop Violence
Press Contact: Denise Rotheimer, 847-406-8566,

Press conference/Public forum
1PM, Saturday, March 3rd
Lake Villa Township, 37850 N. Rt. 59, Lake Villa

Crime victims' rights are unenforceable in Illinois, say victims' rights activists, who propose State's Attorney candidates sign pledge to seek justice, not to merely obtain convictions.

Several high profile cases have tainted the Lake County State's Attorney's Office for pursuing convictions based on bogus confessions, lack of jurisdiction, and violating victims' rights, say activists, who want the next State's Attorney to sign a pledge.

Ingleside, IL - Lake County residents and supporters will hold a public forum, "Restoring Justice in Lake County" at 1PM at Lake Villa Township, 37850 N. Rt. 59, to request all six candidates running for Lake County State's Attorney to sign a pledge that he or she will enforce victims' rights, uphold the constitution, and adhere by the prosecutor's duty to seek justice, not merely to obtain convictions. The forum will begin with a brief presentation on victims' rights and signing of the pledge. State's Attorney candidates will have an opportunity to present their platforms and take questions and comments from residents.

Denise Rotheimer, founder, Mothers On a Mission to Stop Violence, proposed the pledge as a measure to hold candidates for Lake County State's Attorney accountable to the residents of Lake County upon his or her election. "State's Attorneys are protected by Sovereign Immunity under the 11th Amendment," says Rotheimer, "Even if I could prove standing in my federal complaint against the Lake County State's Attorney, the Court is barred from making decisions in suits filed by private individuals against States and their agencies." Since 2003, Rotheimer pursued legislation to protect other victims from becoming further victimized by the system after the prosecutor excluded her then 12-year-old daughter, Jasmine from participating in the criminal justice process. "Jasmine told the prosecutor that she was willing to offer her testimony in Court against the man who had raped her," says Rotheimer, "But, the prosecutor railroaded my daughter and violated all her rights, because victims' rights in Illinois are unenforceable. That is why we filed our complaint in federal court last year."

Both Chris Kennedy (D) and Mike Nerheim (R) candidates for Lake County State's Attorney have confirmed their attendance as panelists. "The job of a prosecutor is to seek justice, not merely a conviction. Seeking justice is something I firmly believe in, and this important statement about seeking justice and not merely a conviction has been at the forefront of my campaign from day one, including on the thousands of copies of printed materials I've distributed and on my website,," says Mike Nerheim.

"I know what it is like to be on the victim's and survivor's side of the criminal justice system. I will make victims' rights a major focus of the State's Attorney's Office and will establish a specialized Sex Crimes Unit to ensure these difficult and dangerous cases are handled properly while protecting victims’ dignity," says Chris Kennedy.

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