A Cook County judge once found temporarily insane has been removed from the bench, the Illinois Courts Commission said Friday.
Cynthia Brim, found not guilty by reason of insanity after being charged with attacking a sheriff’s deputy, went before a rarely convened judicial panel earlier this year.
The seven-member Illinois Courts Commission, which heard a professional complaint against Brim, determined “that the respondent suffers from a mental disability that persistently interfered with the performance of her judicial duties.”
“The respondent’s repeated failure to follow through with proper medical treatment resulted in conduct that was prejudicial to the administration of justice and brought the judicial office into disrepute. The only appropriate remedy in this case is to remove and dismiss respondent from the office of Circuit Court Judge, effective immediately,” the ICC ruling states.
The complaint charges Brim violated decorum requirements, laid out in the state judicial code, when she made racially charged remarks in a Markham courtroom. Later, she marched into the Daley Center, clad in a fur coat and surgical scrubs, shoved a deputy and threw a set of keys at him. Brim was found not guilty by reason of insanity last year.
Brim’s attorney, who had not seen the ruling, was surprised by the commission’s decision.
“Her case was very strong,” said William Harte. “Her case was strong because she did not have her medication properly. Ultimately, she got it and after she went to her prosecution she was on the medication, and everything turned out fine. Her testimony and her physicians’s testimony indicated she would be fine as judge.”
Brim said in a legal filing in September 2013 that she does not dispute the various accounts of her behavior. But the filing also states that she can’t recall the alleged attack of the deputy.
Brim was accused of halting a hearing on March 8, 2012, in Markham traffic court and declaring that police in Evergreen Park and South Holland targeted minorities.
For the next 45 minutes, she pontificated on her childhood, prior hospitalizations for mental illness, and injustice, according to eyewitness accounts.
She told those present that she was once hauled out of a courtroom on a stretcher following a similar breakdown.
She also said police from Evergreen Park were racist and a defendant was railroaded by South Holland police, according to the written eyewitness testimony.
“If you want to talk about justice — justice is all about if you are black or white,” Brim said from the bench, according to the filing.
Eventually word got to Markham Chief Judge Brian Flaherty that Brim was acting “preachy” and her courtroom had devolved into a “circus atmosphere,” the document states.
Flaherty set aside his lunch, entered Brim’s courtroom, and after about 10 minutes, was able to persuade her to step down, according to the document.
On the following day, after allegedly throwing a set of keys at a deputy and shoving him while trying to walk away at the Daley Center, she was arrested and transferred to a mental hospital for a two-week stay, court records indicate.