Cynthia Brim, a long-time Cook County Judge who most recently was assigned to hear traffic and misdemeanor cases at the Markham Courthouse, was removed from the bench today by order of the Courts Commission. The order can be found here.
Brim, who suffers from bipolar disorder, had a breakdown two years ago, when she began ranting during a court call, until she was removed from the courthouse. The following day, she went to the Daley Center downtown, where she threw keys at a sheriff and pushed another sheriff. She was arrested and charged with battery but was found not guilty by reason of insanity. She claims that she is now under medication and is fit to return to the bench.
What was disturbing to read in the order was that Brim had been hospitalized multiple times — in 1993, 1995, 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2012 for her mental illness. When her problems would onset, she would not be aware of the problem, and she would only be hospitalized because a family member recognized the symptoms. Each hospitalization was from three to four weeks.
This means that Judge Brim was hearing cases during the onset of her psychiatric illness, without her even realizing it. How many people were the victims of her distorted judgment? It is also disturbing that she has pushed to remain on the bench — and ran for retention, knowing that she is at constant risk to have a relapse, unbeknownst to her.
I have appeared many times in front of Judge Brim. She is a very intelligent and compassionate person and I wish all the best for her. But she should have shown better judgment by retiring from the bench instead of fighting for reinstatement.