Illinois Man Sells Drugs To Judge . . . Man Faces 11 Years While Judge Faces 18 Months In Jail

5277add4c1c8f.preview-300cook-michael-150x150Former St. Clair County Circuit Judge Michael Cook (left) is no doubt facing a nightmare after pleading guilty to buying and using heroin while on the bench. However, he is still far better off than his supplier, Sean D. McGilvery (right) who is looking at a 10 to 11 year prison term for the crime.

Distribution has always brought greater time than possession, but the sharp disconnect in the treatment of the judge as opposed to the dealer raises obvious concerns. Judge Joe Billy McDade will have to finalize the sentences and has asked for the U.S. Probation Office to prepare a supplemental presentence investigation report on former St. Clair County Circuit Judge Michael Cook. That might allow for an upward departure for the former jurist. After all, Cook was a judge who handled the cases of other citizens while he engaged in the same criminal conduct.

McGilvery, who could get from 10 years to as much as life in prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy to distribute heroin, is scheduled to be sentenced Thursday. Cook faces sentencing in February.

McGilvery is a former legal client of Cook’s and admitted to selling the judge heroin on a daily basis. Worse yet, Cook routinely presided over drug cases. The conflict was obvious to others. Defendant Justin D. Cahill, told the investigators that he was happy to supply OxyContin pills to Cook, because he assumed Cook would give him a lighter sentence. Cook later sentenced his own dealer to three months in jail and probation.

To make matters even weirder, another downstate Illinois judge, Joe Christ, died of cocaine toxicity last year at a hunting cabin owned by Cook’s parents.

Source: ABA Journal

26 thoughts on “Illinois Man Sells Drugs To Judge . . . Man Faces 11 Years While Judge Faces 18 Months In Jail”

  1. How far back does Judge Cook’s use and addiction go? It is not just the obvious conflict of a drug abuser presiding over and sentencing other drug users and/or dealers, but his judgment should be questioned in each and every case he handled. Certainly Judge Cook should face a lifetime revocation of his law license in addition to his criminal legal consequences. What of the criminal defendant (or the victim) to whom justice was not served because this judge was perhaps compromised due to his own issues? Normally, I agree that a user should not be punished with the same veracity as a dealer. In this case, the user is not a mere user. He had a position of authority that he compromised, and in turn compromises our faith in the system and rule of law. He should face a stricter punishment as a message to others responsible for maintaining our system (judges, attorneys, law enforcement) to hold true to the oaths sworn to uphold the Constitution and laws of our state. We also need a system for these people who find themselves battling addiction to seek treatment without losing their jobs or ruining their reputation, so that they aren’t left with the choice of either being perfect or hiding what you struggle with until its too late.

  2. Many of the comments thus far have already touched upon many of the terrible things about this situation, such as the hypocrisy of a sitting judge bartering his power for drugs, or the fact that he sat in judgment of others while simultaneously committing the crime itself. The original post also compares the punishment of Judge Cook versus his dealer. Distribution charges are generally more serious than possession charges. One would think the judge could face additional charges related to his abuse of his position as well. I think the saddest thing about this situation here is that a leader of his profession and community was buying drugs on a daily basis. Drug distribution effects everyone in our society, whether they realize it or not. The perils of addiction permeate every socioeconomic class of our country. Drug dealing is not limited to one type of community, or to urban environments, and too often we think of the drug business as someone else’s problem. Narcotics in pill form, such as Oxycontin, are dangerous and arguably more accessible to the public than other drugs, such as cocaine.

  3. If the seller ‘s sentence is based, in any way, on consideration of the degree of possible harm he could do to society at large through the conduct (or misconduct) of his business, then the same standard MUST be applied to the judge as well.

    And if you approach this on those terms, the judge should be punished much more severely. He not only willingly violated the law multiple times, he violated an oath of office and the trust of the people he’s supposed to serve. He took a paycheck from the public while undermining the outcomes of criminal court proceedings, which may have affected THOUSANDS of people, directly or indirectly.

    And this judge is not like a police officer, who actually risks something in the everyday performance of his duties. Aberrant behavior amongst authority figures can be somewhat excused, and sentences mitigated, in officers serving under threat of sudden death at the hands of some random maniac. Officers tend to get light sentences when they appear before judges for that reason. This guy does not have that excuse. Also, a dealer does pretty much what you would expect them to do to turn a quick profit whilst attempting to evade the law. This guy betrayed everyone who came through his courtroom in some way or other.

    While I understand how addiction can twist one’s moral sense like a pretzel, it does not excuse that. If he recognized his habit was serious enough to make him take measures like these, he should’ve owned up to it. I ‘m sure there is some provision in the system to allow court employees to seek help for addictions without it ending their public careers. That he did not seek such help, but instead fixed cases, shows utter disregard for the office he held, and the law in general. They should throw the book at him.


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