Former 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