Eileen O’Neill Burke

On the Issues

For over thirty years as a prosecutor, defense attorney, and judge, Justice Eileen O’Neill Burke (Ret.) has spent her career committed to seeking justice for the people of Cook County.

Getting Guns off the Street

If someone commits a crime with a gun in Cook County, they’ll meet head on with the best trained felony prosecution division in the country. Eileen will work with federal officials, our neighboring states and anyone they need to tackle the flow of illegal guns into Chicago. She’ll go after straw purchasers that sell those guns to criminals, and nobody who commits a violent offense is going back into the community to reoffend.

Addressing Root Causes of Crime.

Eileen knows we’ll never get crime under control without addressing its root causes—poverty, historic disinvestment in neighborhoods, and a revolving door of kids getting involved in crime early and getting stuck.

That’s why she’ll recruit a brand-new type of State’s Attorney in a newly fashioned Restorative Justice Bureau. That’s where juvenile, veterans, drug and mental health courts will work with government agencies to get people help, let them cross pollinate with various social service agencies and bring people back to society instead of being stuck in a life of crime.

Courts around the nation offer models for how to do this effectively. Washington DC has had tremendous success with mental health courts and are seeing real progress in getting people off the streets who suffer from mental health issues. DuPage County has a model drug court for the entire nation – something much needed with an epidemic of incredibly addictive drugs containing fentanyl.

These programs often cost a fraction of what it costs to incarcerate someone.  It’s a smarter way to promote safety and justice.

Rebuilding the State's Attorney's Office

The State’s Attorney’s Office is suffering from a severe attrition challenge and desperately needs to be restored to full strength. As State’s Attorney, Eileen will create a new education and training curriculum that will offer the best opportunity in the country to learn how to be a great trial lawyer. Coupled with a newly fashioned restorative justice bureau, attorneys interested in a variety of government service opportunities will seek out opportunities to work in the criminal justice system in Cook County. There will be no better place to start a promising legal career.

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