Judicial board alleges judge ‘mentally unstable’ for job
BY BECKY SCHLIKERMAN Staff Reporter August 13, 2013 9:02PM
Judge Cynthia Brim in February | Sun-Times files
Updated: September 15, 2013 6:22AM
The state’s Judicial Inquiry Board filed a complaint Tuesday against a Cook County judge who has been diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder alleging that she’s “mentally unable” to perform her duties unless she receives regular treatment.
Judge Cynthia Brim, who was charged with battery after she pushed a sheriff’s deputy and was later found not guilty by reason of insanity, also is accused by the Judicial Inquiry Board of “conduct that was prejudicial to the administration of justice and that brought the judicial office into disrepute,” according to the complaint.
Her attorney, through an assistant, declined to comment.
Cook County’s Chief Judge Timothy C. Evans said Tuesday that an order issued in 2012 by the court’s Executive Committee, which removed Brim from “all judicial duties,” remains in effect.
Despite that, Brim is still collecting a salary, and in fact, has gotten a raise.
On July 1, her pay was $183,936 — up from $181,929, according to Joseph Tybor, a spokesman for the Illinois Supreme Court.
He said all judges receive automatic cost-of-living increases, adding that the state’s constitution also stipulates the salary of a judge cannot be diminished while a judge is in office.
Brim’s apparent unraveling began on March 8, 2012. She was on the bench of traffic court in the Markham Courthouse when she “abruptly stopped her court call and proceeded to sit silently on the bench for several minutes,” according to the complaint. Brim then went on to say “a number of inappropriate comments,” according to the complaint. The next day, Brim got on the wrong bus then got off somewhere on 47th Street and “marched for justice towards downtown.”
It was the start of a bizarre series of events in a day that ended with her arrest on battery charges after allegedly shoving a sheriff’s deputy outside the Daley Center, according to testimony in February during a one-day trial.
Brim — who has been diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder, bipolar type — was found not guilty by reason of insanity.
Since 1993, the year before she was elected to the bench, Brim has been hospitalized five times for psychotic episodes, according to testimony in February.
Brim was ordered to undergo a Illinois Department of Human Services evaluation. Subsequently, the court ordered Brim conditionally released for five years. She has to undergo outpatient psychiatric treatment with monthly medication management and monthly therapy with a social worker to “address issues related to the criminal offense, maintain psychiatric stability and manager her recovery.” Brim also has to undergo random drug tests at least three times a year to “ensure compliance with her medication regime,” according to the complaint.
Brim is able to respond to the complaint and will appear before the courts commission.