Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The insanity defense works.

Back in November Mr. Torvik posted about how Cynthia Brim, a judge in Cook County, Illinois, was indicted for battery in regards to an incident that occurred between Judge Brim and a deputy at the Daley Center in Chicago.  As Mr. Torvik mentioned, Judge Brim rejected offers to drop the charge and intended to take the case to trial.  The Chicago Tribune reports that Judge Brim has been found not guilty.  Why?  Because Judge Brim successfully used the insanity defense.

According to the Tribune, Judge Brim has apparently been hospitalized five time for mental breakdowns in the 18 years she has been on the bench.  In 2004, Judge Brim was carried off the bench at a suburban courthouse after she "froze while addressing her courtroom before starting the day, standing mute until someone called the paramedics."  Judge Brim apparently has a "bipolar type of schizoaffective disorder."  This means she "experiences delusions and hallucinations" according to a psychiatrist who testified at the trial.  However, these symptoms can be curtailed with medication.

Apparently Judge Brim stopped taking her medications prior to the incident with the deputy.  As a result, the prosecution claimed that she was "criminally responsible" for her actions because she made a conscious choice to stop taking the medication.  Judge Brim's attorney said a psychiatrist had advised her to only take the drugs when she needed to.

Evaluating the testimony, and not the issue of whether Judge Brim is fit to return to the bench, DuPage County Judge Liam Brennan found that Judge Brim was insane at the time of the incident.  Judge Brennan also ordered that Judge Brim return to court on March 15 to provide an update on her mental health treatment.  The Illinois Judicial Inquiry Board is investigating Judge Brim as to whether she should remain on the bench.  According to the Tribune, Judge Brim looked "displeased" with the verdict.

The Tribune's report contains a fairly long summary of the events of the day which culminated in Judge Brim being arrested.  These events are very strange.  Because she is a public official, this reporting seems appropriate.  But on a human level it sure feels like kicking someone when they are down.

However, one interesting fact about that day is that after she was arrested Judge Brim refused to answer any questions.  However, someone connected with the arrest recognized Judge Brim and the deputies called various judges in the Daley Center for help getting Judge Brim to answer questions.  Cook County Judge Pamela Hill-Veal came to help.  Judge Hill-Veal is Judge Brim's cousin.  Judge Hill-Veal told police that Judge Brim had no history of mental illness.  Jude Hill-Veal did not respond to the Tribune's request for comment so it is not clear whether Judge Hill-Veal was ignorant of Judge Brim's mental healthy history or being inaccurate on purpose.  According to this, Judge Hill-Veal has been a Cook County Judge since 2004.  But maybe she got on the bench after the 2004 incident where Judge Brim had to be removed from the courtroom.  Although one would think that incident might have gotten mentioned by some of the other judges at some point since then.

I also learned that Judge Brennan's robes-like those of all judges in DuPage County, are directly paid for by the DuPage County taxpayers and that Judge Brenna has the most expensive robe on the DuPage County bench.  Cook County judges get their robes from the Lake County Bar Association.  You can read about the robe purchasing habits for some Illinois counties here.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments on posts older than 30 days are moderated because almost all of those comments are spam.