Chicago prosecutor quits citing city's 'social experiment' with law and order: ' I will not raise my son here'

(AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

A Chicago prosecutor who had been working for the city for 20 years quit his job last week. In a final letter he praised many of the people he worked with but said he could not raise his son in a city that was part of a social experiment, one which he believes has the city heading for disaster.


Jason Poje, a felony trial attorney with the Cook County State Attorney’s Office, sent the letter to 85 colleagues on Friday as he headed out the door, explaining that he was departing because of several progressive reforms that have made the city more dangerous for everyone, Fox News reported.

“The simple fact is that this State and County have set themselves on a course to disaster,” wrote Poje, who was with the office for 20 years. “And the worst part is that the agency for whom I work has backed literally every policy change that has the predictable, and predicted, outcome of more crime and more people getting hurt.”

Real Clear Politics published Poje’s final email to his colleagues today. Here’s a bit of what he said about the environment his family is in.

Many years ago my family found a nice quiet corner of the suburbs. Now my son, who is only 5, hears gunfire while playing at our neighborhood park, and a drug dealer is open-air selling behind my house (the second one in two years). If it were just me to consider, I’d stick it out. I’ve been through stupid State’s Attorney policies before. But this Office’s complete failure to even think for a moment before rushing into one popular political agenda after another has put my family directly in harm’s way.

The current people in charge of this state, including the [State’s Attorney’s Office] suffer from a fundamental misunderstanding…we live in a society with adversarial court and criminal justice processes. Defense attorneys, legal aid clinics, Public Defenders, defendant advocate groups…they fight like hell to protect the rights of criminal defendants. And they should. Their work is as noble as ours. But we have an obligation to fight like hell on behalf of the People. It should go without saying that this must be done ethically and evenhandedly. When both sides vigorously defend their positions, a balance is reached between protecting rights while preserving some sort of order and safety. Once we start doing too much of the defense’s job, once we pull our punches, once we decide that it’s worth risking citizens’ lives to have a little social experiment, that balance is lost. The unavoidable consequences are what we are witnessing in real time, an increase in crime of all kinds, businesses and families pulling up stakes, and the bodies piling up; the whole time with a State’s Attorney who insists that there is nothing to see here, and if there is it must be someone else’s fault. And then they wonder why they cannot retain experienced prosecutors or even hire new ones…it’s because any true prosecutor recognizes the importance of this balance, and that they will not be permitted to be a prosecutor under this administration.

I will not raise my son here. I am fortunate enough to have the means to escape, so my entire family is leaving the State of Illinois.


Poje didn’t mention Kim Foxx by name but that’s clearly who he is talking about. Two weeks ago, Foxx announced that she was not running for office again.

Kim Foxx will not seek reelection in 2024 after serving two terms as Cook County state’s attorney.

She made the big announcement at the City Club of Chicago Tuesday afternoon, saying, “I leave now with my head held high and my heart full, knowing that better days are ahead.”…

She has been hailed by progressives for her work on bail and criminal justice reforms. But she’s also faced criticism being too soft on criminals and for her handling of the Jussie Smollett case.

With the recall of Chesa Boudin, the recent resignation of Kim Gardner and the decision to step back by Kim Foxx, the situation in some of America’s big cities is slowly improving. Hopefully that trend will continue.

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