Chi Hack Night's Open Data Pledge for Cook County State’s Attorney

Published on Feb 12, 2016 by Derek Eder

Introductions at Chi Hack Night
Candidates for Cook County State's Attorney: Anita Alvarez (D), Donna More (D), Kim Foxx (D) and Christopher E. K. Pfannkuche (R)

Chi Hack Night is inviting every candidate for Cook County State’s Attorney to sign a pledge to, if elected, commit their office to publish open data.

Update 3: As State’s Attorney, Kim Foxx Establishes Open Data Program

Cook County State’s Attorney Foxx has built a data program within her office, including hiring a Chief Data Officer and releasing a first-ever data report. On March 2, 2018, their office released over six years of felony criminal case data on the Cook County Open Data Portal.

You can watch State’s Attorney Foxx and her Chief Data Officer Matt Saniie present their work and preview the first ever open data released from their office. During their presentation, we got to ask if this Open Data Pledge had any influence on their decision to pursue their open data program. Here is her full response.

It helped make the case. Because again, there was not any model that we were able to follow. Because there was an appetite - because there was a pledge - we had to be committed to this.

- State’s Attorney Kim Foxx speaking at Chi Hack Night

Update 2: Kim Foxx wins Democratic Primary

On March 15, Kim Foxx won the Democratic Primary for Cook County State’s Attorney.

As one of the candidates who signed our open data pledge, we have invited Kim to speak at Chi Hack Night and discuss her data and technology plans for the State’s Attorney’s office.

Update 1: Candidate responses

  • Donna More (D) - Responded on February 13, 2016 and signed on February 16, 2016
  • Kim Foxx (D) - Signed on February 16, 2016
  • Anita Alvarez (D) - Responded on February 18, 2016. No intention of signing
  • Christopher E. K. Pfannkuche (R) - No response

What does the State’s Attorney do?

The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office is the second largest prosecutor’s office in the United States. The office has nearly 900 attorneys and 1,600 employees, and has an annual operating budget of $103 million.

The State’s Attorney’s Office prosecute all misdemeanor and felony crimes committed in Cook County and also file legal actions to enforce child support orders, protect consumers and the elderly from exploitation, and assist thousands of victims of domestic violence every year. Anita Alvarez is the current officeholder.

Invitation to all candidates

To: Anita Alvarez, Kim Foxx, Donna More, Christopher E. K. Pfannkuche
From: Derek Eder, Chi Hack Night
Date: Feb 12, 2016
Subject: Open Data Pledge for Cook County State’s Attorney

Chi Hack Night ( is a group of thousands of designers, academic researchers, data journalists, activists, policy wonks, web developers and curious citizens who strive to make our city more just, equitable, transparent and delightful to live in through data, design and technology.

We volunteer every week to build tools to support and serve the public good. Open government data makes it possible for us to do this work.

Chi Hack Night is inviting every candidate for Cook County State’s Attorney to sign a pledge (attached) to, if elected, commit their office to publish open data. All candidates are invited to Chi Hack Night on February 23rd, 2016 where they will have an opportunity to address the Chi Hack Night community and sign the pledge in person.

Chi Hack Night
Cook County State’s Attorney Open Data Pledge
6pm, Tuesday February 23rd
222 W Merchandise Mart Plaza
Braintree Office, 8th Floor
Chicago, IL

Please RSVP with Derek Eder by Thursday, February 18th at or by phone at (503) 577-0677.

Derek Eder
Lead Organizer, Chi Hack Night

Open Data Pledge

Here is the open data pledge, with signatures from the candidates collected so far.

Open Data Pledge for Cook County State's Attorney
Download the pledge (PDF)

You can also view the original pledge in Google Docs.

The open data pledge was drafted by Steve Ediger, Steven Vance and Derek Eder, with contributions by Rebecca Williams, Dominic Mauro and Christopher Whitaker.

About the author

Derek is an entrepreneur, developer and one of the leaders of the civic technology community in Chicago. He is a co-founder and partner at DataMade — a company that tells stories and builds tools with data — and is the lead organizer for Chi Hack Night.