Cynthia Brim (pictured), a Cook County, Ill., judge, who was deemed “mentally unfit” last year by the Illinois Courts Commission (ICC) after demonstrating a series of bizarre behaviors in the courtroom, was ousted from the bench on Friday by the very same state judicial panel. The seven-member committee concluded that Brim “suffers from a mental disability that persistently interfered with the performance of her judicial duties” and that the mental episodes “brought the judicial office into disrepute and demeaned the integrity of the judiciary,” reports the Chicago Tribune.
The ICC reportedly further noted, “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 55-year-old, 18-year justice has become the very first sitting Illinois judge to be booted from the bench in more than 10 years and the seventh to be removed in the last four decades.
ICC members did allegedly express sympathy for Brim’s medical situation, but felt, however, that Brim’s alleged repeated breakdowns over the years and apparent inability to follow a proper course of treatment, brought them to a decision they could not back down from.
The judicial group’s Chair and Illinois Supreme Court Justice Lloyd A. Karmeier stated that ICC wrote in its unanimous ruling, “The public expects and deserves predictability in the judicial process, and the unpredictable and unrecognizable nature of [Brim's] mental illness places the public at risk.”
Last year, Brim was reportedly found not guilty of misdemeanor battery by reason of insanity, after throwing a set of keys at and pushing a sheriff’s deputy during a mental breakdown in March 2012. Just one day shy of the alleged key flinging/shoving incident, Brim allegedly went in to a public courtroom rant while presiding over a mere traffic case. The justice accused two police departments of racial bias with regards to targeting minorities and mentioned how she had just been in a psyche ward.
Brim was suspended for her bizarre courtroom outburst but still able to maintain her judicial seat in the November 2012 election as well as her $182,000 yearly salary. Brim defended her bench behavior, but those in attendance at the time labeled her antics as “preachy,” stating that the courtroom had turned into an absolute circus atmosphere. Brim later conceded, though, “I just broke like a pencil.”
Brim has allegedly been hospitalized at mental health facilities at least nine times since 1994. The Chicago Tribune reports, that Brim was even carried out of the courtroom during one occasion on a stretcher, after she became catatonic.
The ICC determined that Brim’s mental episodes occurred too often and unexpected.
Now Brim’s seat will remain vacant until the Illinois Supreme Court can temporarily appoint an interim replacement.