Jefferson County prosecutor accused of being drunk on the job

courtesy St. Louis Post-Dispatch

An assistant prosecutor in Jefferson County is out of a job after she was suspected of being drunk in court as witnesses said she had blood-shot eyes and acted unprofessionally.

The incident that caused concern happened Tuesday in a courtroom in Hillsboro where they were preparing for jury selection in a sexual assault case. However, people said assistant prosecutor Catherine Crowley looked like she had been drinking.

“When you see a person that's drunk or something wrong, you can tell it,” said Bob Kornfeld, who was in the courtroom. “I mean, she was falling all over the place.”

Attorney Josh Tolin was also in the room handling a civil case when he said Crowley shouted at his co-counsel.

“She says, ‘I'm not talking to you.' I mean [she was] very unprofessional and rude,” Tolin said. “I really don't know what was behind that.”

Witnesses said her behavior even angered the judge.

“She left and the judge said, ‘You tell Catherine to get back in the courtroom now. I order her,'” Kornfeld added.

After her conduct, the judge called a meeting in his chambers and immediately stopped the jury selection while postponing the trial until June.

Crowley worked 18 years in the prosecutor's office. Officials told News 4 that her last day on the job was Wednesday. Her boss, Prosecutor Forrest Wegge, said he can't speak about personnel matters. Strict standards of conduct for attorneys may obligate Wegge to report Crowley to the state bar. If they find she was drunk in court, she could be disbarred.

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