We previously discussed the bizarre case of Cook County Judge Cynthia Brim, a judge in Markham, Illinois who has been barred from entering the courthouse without police escort and has a prior arrest for assault. Despite long opposition from bar groups and her claiming insanity as a defense to the charge, Cook County voters returned her to the bench in a recent election. Now, Brim has been cleared of the criminal charge by reason of insanity and can now be cleared to resume judging other people in Cook County . . . thanks to voters who clearly reelected her on a basis other than competence, record, or sanity.
The Democratic party supported Brim’s reelection despite that fact that the bar association has been trying since 2000 to remove her from the bench. In 2000, 2006 and 2012, bar associations have found her not qualified. Pending her being cleared by the courts to return to the bench, she will continue to collect $182,000 in annual salary. By the way, she was reelected by 63.5 percent of the vote.
In one past incident, Brim, 54, simply froze in the middle of addressing a courtroom and had to be carried off the bench by paramedics. She has been diagnosed with a bipolar type of schizoaffective disorder which cause delusions and hallucinations.
On March 8th, Brim had to leave the courthouse following a tirade where she was raving in a courtroom. The next day, she was upset about a story in the newspaper and decided to do a single persons “march for justice” after taking the wrong bus to go downtown to complain. She walked 5 miles to her attorney’s office but went to the wrong law firm . . . then refused to leave. That attorney later filed another complaint against Brim.
She then went to the Daley Center and caused a scene — throwing her keys on the ground in protest of her treatment. A deputy noticed that the keys were security keys that civilians are not supposed to have and asked her to stop to answer questions. She refused and went down Randolph street. The deputy stepped in front of her and she shoved him. She was then arrested.
Brim is scheduled to return in March to the bench.
The case again raises the question of the wisdom of elected judges rather than appointed judges. Clearly the voters did not care that she has demonstrated incompetence both professional and personally to sit on the bench. She was reelected at the same time and by the same margin as Jesse Jackson Jr. after he disappeared from Congress. The difference is that Brim hands down judgment on other citizens as a judge. Her case speak loudly to the need to move away from elected judge positions in Illinois and other states.
Source: Chicago Tribune