Former Judge Disbarred

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (CN) – The Illinois Supreme Court has disbarred a former judge who pleaded guilty to drug charges.
     Michael Cook, a former St. Clair County Circuit judge, pleaded guilty in November to possessing heroin and using a controlled substance while in possession of firearms. Cook consented to the disbarment after he was sentenced to 24 months in prison and fined $75,708 in March.
     Cook, 44 of Belleville, resigned as judge in May 2013 when the charges against him surfaced. Another St. Clair County judge, Joseph Christ, died of a cocaine overdose in March while staying at a Cook family resort in Pleasant Hill, Ill.
     The Illinois Supreme Court found the following conclusions of misconduct, according to the Madison Record:
     – Committing criminal acts that reflect adversely on the lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness or fitness as a lawyer in other respects in violation of Rule 8.4(b) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct (2010);
     – Conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation by committing criminal acts while serving as a judicial officer, in violation of Rule 8.4(c) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct (2010); and
     – Conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice by committing criminal acts while serving as a judicial officer, in violation of rule 8.4(a)(5) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct.
     Cook has been given 60 days to report to the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

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