St. Clair courthouse drug scandal spurs bids for retrials

St. Clair courthouse drug scandal spurs bids for retrials

This October 2010 photo shows St. Clair County Circuit Judge Michael Cook during his swearing in ceremony. Cook is under federal investigation after a former prosecutor and colleague Joe Christ was found dead of a cocaine overdose at Cook's cabin in rural Pike County, Ill. in March 2013. Cook as booted from his docket of hundreds of cases Thursday, May 23, 2013.(AP Photo/Belleville News-Democrat, Derik Holtmann)

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by Associated Press

KMOV.com

Posted on October 21, 2013 at 11:58 AM

ST. LOUIS -- The fallout from the courthouse scandal involving former St. Clair County circuit judge Michael Cook is beginning to take root. Fellow judges are weighing whether to grant retrials to defendants convicted under Cook, who’s been charged with possessing heroin and having a gun while on controlled substances.

Cook resigned after federal prosecutors filed charges against him.

The challenge for St. Clair’s judicial system has been summed up by one defendant’s attorney as “a novel affair” that may not be covered by legal precedent.

The county prosecutor, Brendan Kelly, has called it “a man-made disaster.” Kelly’s office has argued against new trials, without directly addressing allegations Cook was impaired on the bench.

 

Cook has pleaded not guilty. He has agreed to have his law license suspended and sought drug treatment.

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