The accused heroin judge quit yesterday, following federal charges of possession and violating gun laws. Judge Michael Cook of St. Clair County, Illinois has stepped down amid charges that stemmed from the death of his friend and colleague during a hunting trip.
Judge Joe Christ died of complications from cocaine intoxication. Both judges were on a trip together at Cross’ hunting lodge when Christ died.
The cause of Christ’s death was announced late last week, revealing that he died of a cocaine overdose. Within hours after the announcement, Federal prosecutors issued a criminal complaint accusing Cook. He has been federally charged with heroin possession and handling a firearm while intoxicated.
As reported by Business Insider, less than a week after being charged with possession of heroin, the judge quit. Cook resigned through written correspondence provided by his attorney.
Cook plead not guilty to the criminal charges and has been released on bond. St. Clair County Chief Judge, John Baricevic, has stated that Cook is currently in a rehabilitation facility.
Two other men were arrested in the scandal that has rocked the county. James K. Fogarty is charged with supplying Judges Cook and Christ with cocaine. Fogarty worked for the county as a probation officer.
As reported by Fox2 News, Sean McGilvery was also charged with several heroin and cocaine charges stemming from the investigation into Christ’s death. Unlike the other three men, he was not employed with St. Clair County.
The allegations have shaken the foundation of St. Clair County. Both judges were given the power to sentence criminals for the very behavior that they reportedly took part in. As a probation officer, Fogarty was tasked with supervising criminals. His job included monitoring defendants for drug use and possession. He is now charged with selling drugs.
The criminal charges may seem ironic, especially for those previously appearing before either judge. Unfortunately, it is a great tragedy for those who looked up to both men, personally and professionally.
Cook faces some very serious charges tied to his use of heroin. The judge quit, as he reportedly takes the time to rehabilitate and work on his defense.
[Image via Wikimedia]