Why Is Matt Running?
The office of Lake County State’s Attorney has been running on autopilot for years. There exists a “culture of conviction” that has led to Lake County becoming infamous for wrongful convictions of persons imprisoned for crimes of which they were completely innocent resulting in costly lawsuits totaling millions of dollars. The cavalier attitude and the lack of professional manner found in some of the assistant State’s Attorneys in the Lake County office is shocking.
The world has changed and we as a society can no longer afford to rely on incarceration as a catch all response to drug addiction, entrenched poverty and mental illness. The job of a prosecutor is to dispense justice.
If we are serious about change in Lake County we need someone in charge who has not graduated from the Lake County State’s Attorney Country Club. No one is saying that the current State’s Attorney is not a good man, but I question whether he is capable of following up on his promise to clean up the office and hold his staff accountable. After he was elected he did not replace a single one of the 144 employees in the office. The Felony Review board he created is made up of part-time employees and volunteers. Many of his employees are his cronies. Moral courage involves doing what is right even when what is right is the harder thing to do.
I have no special favors to return, no ribbons to hand out. The only interests I have are those that I owe the taxpaying public.
What Does Matt Bring to the Job?
I am a practicing attorney and a law professor having been on the adjunct faculty at Kent College of Law since 2005. I am one of the first of my generation in my family to graduate from college, a feat I accomplished while raising my five children as a single parent in Gurnee. I believe that as citizens we have a responsibility to not only better ourselves and our families, but the community where we live, now and for the future.
The office of State’s Attorney is an integral part of good government. I promise to change the business-as-usual approach to prosecution that has made Lake County notorious for wrongful conviction and eliminate the current attitude of arrogance that permeates the office. I will work with the Lake County Sheriff’s Department and the judiciary to make our county a national leader in common sense reform. I believe that by working together we can develop alternatives to the mass incarceration of youthful offenders; provide judges greater discretion with punishments; and re-direct taxpayer resources to focus on serious and violent crime.
A Longtime Lake County Resident and Family Man
It was Christmas time 1985 when my family was involved in a head-on collision. I was injured and my pregnant wife had to deliver our fourth child by emergency C-section. The car accident resulted in serious and permanent injuries to several of my children. The entire family felt the catastrophic effects: physical, emotional and financial. Even my marriage could not hold up under the incredible strain. By the early 1990s I found myself a single parent of five young children needing extraordinary care. The succeeding years were as difficult as one can imagine and yet incredibly rewarding. Facing a host of difficult decisions, I left my longtime position as an airline forklift operator and sought employment closer to home and schools that would better accommodate my family’s needs, i.e. caring for a 3 1/2 year old and two children with special needs. I worked for Gurnee School Dist. 56 and then later as an academic advisor at a local college. By learning to prioritize and focus on the most important issues facing the family, I was eventually able to create stability and a home environment that fostered hard-working honor roll students, including a high school lifeguard and a U.S. Olympian/Paralympian. At the same time, I was compelled to be the best model for my family and concerned with giving them more opportunity, so I attended night school on a part time basis and eventually graduated with a law degree. More than a decade as a legal professional has not dimmed the importance of the values of hard work, responsibility, and a fundamental belief that a better world is possible.
I worked hard and took care of my family; and when the situation looked desperate, I worked even harder. I did so because it was the right thing to do, and there was no one else to do it for me. I will do the same thing as State’s Attorney. No one in the office today has proven willing to take action and make the hard choices necessary to hold this office accountable, yet this is woven into the fabric of my life story. I will face problems and adversity head on in the Lake County State’s Attorney Office and not quit until the job is done.
B.A. Columbia College
Juris Doctor, Chicago-Kent College of Law.
Academic honors, scholarship student.
State of Illinois Teaching Certificate
Certified mediator Nineteenth Judicial District of Illinois.
Served as Guardian Ad Litem in probate and divorce cases.
Stanton and Wharton, Private practice specializing in criminal and family law.
Adjunct Professor of Law at Chicago-Kent College of Law, 2005 to present. Authored courses in the law school’s catalogue and developed the coursework.
Academic Advisor – Columbia College 1998-2003
Other past employment: Lake Forest Schools – long term substitute teacher; school bus driver; self-employed contractor and building engineer; mechanic at Burlington Air Express; glazier (glass-cutter) sign painter; cement mason; acrobat/entertainer Renaissance Fair.
Executive Board Member, Chicago Media Watch, 1996 – 2004
Founding Board Member, Great Lakes Adaptive Sports Association (Lake Forest)
Founding member of Twelve Baskets that provided surplus food to homeless shelters and C.O.O.L. food pantry of Lake County during the 1990s.
ParentWISE (Parent Wisdom in Shared Experience) Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. I have been selected as a volunteer counselor beginning in 2016.