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   After a drug scandal rocked the county courthouse, St. Clair County officials are expanding their drug testing program.  The board decided unanimously Monday night to expand the random drug testing to hundreds of additional employees.

   Ironically, the new policy won't apply to the circuit court system where the scandal broke.  That's because the courts are a separate government entity.  

   In March, Circuit Judge Joe Christ died while staying with Circuit Judge Michael Cook at a hunting lodge.  In May, Cook was charged with heroine possession and a weapons violation.  A probation officer and another man are also facing charges.  

Published in Local News
Thursday, 12 September 2013 02:31

Peoria federal judge to preside over Cook trial

   EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. (AP) - A federal judge from Peoria will preside over the trial of a former St. Clair County judge accused of drugs and weapons violations.

   U.S. District Court Judge Joe Billy McDade was named to preside over the case of Michael Cook, who has pleaded not guilty to possessing heroin and having a gun while illegally using controlled substances.

   Chief Judge David Herndon of the Southern District of Illinois was initially assigned the case. However, he and other federal judges in the district recused themselves.

   Cook resigned his judgeship and agreed to attend a drug rehabilitation center in Minnesota and to the suspension of his law license. He was released without being required to post cash.

   Investigators say Cook was with Judge Joe Christ when Christ died from a cocaine overdose.

 

Published in Local News

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