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Judge Recuses Himself in Former Judge Michael 'Bad' Cook's Case

By Gabriella Khorasanee, JD on September 04, 2013 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

If there's one list you don't want to appear on as a judge, it's probably a list of "judges you'd totally want to hang out with this weekend." Especially, if it's because of your ability to procure "really good drugs," as Above the Law likes to put it.

But it looks like that's exactly what former St. Clair County Circuit Judge Michael Cook has done.

Judges Gone Wild

Judge Cook's problems started earlier this year when, on a hunting trip with a colleague Judge Joseph Christ, at Cook's father's camp, he discovered Christ's body. Judge Christ had apparently overdosed on cocaine, reports the Belleville News Democrat. James Fogarty, a drug dealer charged with distribution and possession with intent to distribute apparently sold the cocaine to Judges Christ and Cook before the hunting trip, reports PolicyMic.

A few months later, former Judge Cook was arrested outside the home of Sean McGilvery, a friend of Cook's. McGilvery is in federal custody and has been charged with possession of heroin with intent to distribute. According to KSDK, Cook was arrested for heroin possession and possessing a gun while using illegal controlled substances.

FOX2 reports that Cook resigned as judge in May.

Cook has pleaded not guilty (while wearing a t-shirt that read "Bad is my middle name") to the federal charges and was release on his own recognizance with certain conditions: (1) he seeks drug treatment if necessary; (2) avoid firearms; (3) avoid non-prescribed drugs; and (4) relinquishes his passport, reports PolicyMic.

Judge Stiehl Recuses Himself

Cook's case is set to go to trial on October 1, but the judge assigned to the case, U.S. District Court Judge William Stiehl has recused himself, reports the News Democrat. Judge Stiehl did not comment, nor is he required to. The case has been temporarily assigned to Judge Herndon, and he has written to Judge Easterbook, chief judge of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, requesting him to assign a judge from the Southern District to hear this individual case.

It's unclear who will be assigned this case, but it won't be easy hearing a case where a former-judge is the defendant.

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