Friday, May 16, 2014

Decision of the Illinois Courts Commission in the Brim matter

Here, if this plug-in works, is the text of the Illinois Courts Commission Order In re Circuit Judge Cynthia Y. Brim, 13-CC-1.
Illinois Courts Commission decision in Brim matter.pdf
The unfortunate facts of the case are well known and covered in some detail in the decision of the Courts Commission. This is perhaps the key language:
[Judge Brim] testified that stress and being overworked trigger her mental breakdowns. The judicial office, due to the nature of the issues addressed and the extent of the caseload, is stressful. * * * The public expects and deserves predictability in the judicial process, and the unpredictable and unrecognizable nature of respondent's mental illness places the public at risk. While the testimony at the hearing before the Commission indicated that respondent's episodes would be minimal as long as she was on medication, there was still a five to ten percent chance of another episode. The specific incidents of misconduct in this case, and respondent's history of mental illness, demonstrate that respondent is unable to uphold the integrity of and promote public confidence in the judiciary.

We are sympathetic to respondent's mental health issues. Nonetheless, the judicial profession requires a high level of mental ability and proper mental function. "A judge has a position of power and prestige in a democratic society espousing justice for all persons under law. The role of the judge in the administration of justice requires adherence to the highest standard of personal and official conduct. Of those to whom much is committed, much is demanded. A judge, therefore, has the responsibility of conforming to a higher standard of conduct than is expected of lawyers or other persons in society. *** Our legal system can function only so long as the public, having confidence in the integrity of its judges, accepts and abides by judicial decisions." In re Winton, 350 N.W. 2d 337,340 (Minn. 1984).

Our main concern in determining the appropriate sanction is to protect the public by ensuring the integrity of the judicial system. Our goal is to maintain public confidence in our court system and its judicial officers. The Commission finds that the respondent suffers from a mental disability that persistently interfered with the performance of her judicial duties.
The Courts Commission removed Judge Brim from office.

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