Society

Judge Found Not Guilty By Reason Of Insanity Wants Back On Bench

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht

An Illinois judge who was found not guilty by reason of insanity after allegedly attacking a sheriff’s deputy went before a judicial panel to ask for her job back.

Cook County Circuit Court Judge Cynthia Brim, 55, was charged with misdemeanor battery after throwing a set of keys and shoving a Cook County Sheriff’s deputy in March 2012.

The same day she also made racially charged remarks in a Markham courtroom. She was wearing surgical scrubs and a fur coat. For that incident she was charged with violating decorum laid out by the state judicial code.

“She was off her medication for a period of time and was a little exasperated,” said Brim’s lawyer, William J. Harte.

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Harte says Brim suffers from comorbid bipolar schizoaffective disorder and is willing to undergo supervision to make sure she stays medication compliant. A requirement of her probation in the battery case is that she consistently take her medication.

Brim, who has been a judge for 18 years, appeared before the 7-member Illinois Courts Commission on Friday in a bid to keep her $182,000 per year job.

The panel, including five judges and two citizens, has not announced a decision.

“I just broke like a pencil,” she told the commission Friday, stating she was stressed that day. “It was totally inappropriate for me to say what I did at that time – or any other time.”

She said over the last two years she hasn’t had any psychotic episodes.

“I can serve as a judge with full capability as long as I continue to take the medication as prescribed,” she said. “I've had two years to think about this, and I have a different perspective and understanding of my condition. I realize now I have to stay on my medications and see a psychiatrist on a regular basis.”

Brim has been hospitalized nine times for mental health issues since 1994.

Her psychiatrist, Dr. Roueen Rafeyan, said there’s only a 10 percent chance that Brim would relapse now, even under stressful conditions.

“There are heart surgeons who have the same diagnosis and operate on patients all day long,” Rafeyan said.

Sources: Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun Times