Cynthia Brim, Cook County Circuit Judge

Cynthia Brim

Justice at Stake

Former Cook County Judge Cynthia Brim.

CYNTHIA BRIM was first elected as a Cook County Circuit Judge from the first sub-circuit on Chicago’s South Side, in 1994. In 2012, Brim was charged with battery of a Cook County Deputy Sheriff over an incident at the Daley Center, an event that led to a Judicial Inquiry Board complaint that she was unfit to serve as a judge. The Illinois Courts Commission accepted the recommendation of the Judicial Inquiry Board and removed Brim in 2014, finding that her actions “brought the judicial office into disrepute and demeaned the integrity of the judiciary.”

What the judge did:  Cynthia Brim was arrested and charged with battery after she confronted a Cook County Deputy Sheriff in the lobby of the Daley Center in March, 2012.   But it was only the latest in a series of incidents that raised questions about Brim’s mental health.  The day before the assault, Brim had acted oddly while presiding over court in Markham, sitting silently before giving a speech about race and her own history of mental illness.

What the Judicial Inquiry Board said: The board filed a formal complaint against Brim in August, 2013, finding that she was suffering from a continuing mental condition that included six prior hospitalizations.  “Without the necessary and appropriate medication, this condition renders [Brim] mentally unable to perform her duties,” the complaint states.

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What the Illinois Courts Commission decided: The commission removed Brim from office in May, 2014, finding that “the specific incidents of misconduct in this case, and [Brim’s] history of mental illness, demonstrate that [Brim] is unable to uphold the integrity of and promote public confidence in the judiciary.”

What happened since: A spokesman for the court system told reporters on the day she was removed that Brim’s salary of $184,000 was immediately cut off. But left unsaid: Brim began receiving a pension, now in excess of $150,000 a year. She remains registered to practice law.