Statement by Circuit Court of Cook County Chief Judge Timothy C. Evans
Released On 05/20/2008
On Friday, May 9, 2008, the Tinley Park Police Department arrested Judge Sheila McGinnis and charged her with the following offenses: driving under the influence of alcohol, failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident and failure to provide proof of valid insurance.
Today, I have issued an order assigning Judge Sheila McGinnis to restricted duties in the Office of First Municipal District Presiding Judge E. Kenneth Wright, Jr., where she will perform administrative duties only, subject to further order of the court. The order is effective immediately.
My decision follows a meeting of the Circuit Court of Cook County Executive Committee held on Friday, May 16, 2008, to discuss the matter.
Up until the date of her arrest, Judge McGinnis had been fulfilling her assignment in the Fifth Municipal District in Bridgeview, Illinois, where she heard misdemeanor cases, including DUI charges. On the Monday following her arrest, May 12, 2008, Judge Mc Ginnis was removed from her misdemeanor assignment and reassigned to hear civil matters only. Her new assignment, which is effective May 20, 2008, removes her completely from courtroom duties until further notice.
Judge McGinnis is set to appear in the Fifth Municipal District Bridgeview courthouse on June 6, 2008. I have asked the Supreme Court of Illinois, through its administrative arm, the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts, to assign a judge from a circuit other than Cook County to hear all matters involving the charges filed against Judge McGinnis.
The members of the Executive Committee who participated in the meeting held May 16, 2008, were as follows:
Honorable Timothy C Evans, Chief Judge
Honorable Paul P. Biebel, Jr., Presiding Judge, Criminal Division
Honorable Henry A. Budzinski, Presiding Judge, Probate Division
Honorable Sophia H. Hall, Presiding Judge, Juvenile Justice and
Child Protection Resource Section
Honorable Curtis Heaston, Presiding Judge, Juvenile Justice Division
Honorable Moshe Jacobius, Presiding Judge, Domestic Relations Division
Honorable Dorothy Kirie Kinnaird, Presiding Judge, Chancery Division
Honorable William D. Maddux, Presiding Judge, Law Division
Honorable Patricia M. Martin, Presiding Judge, Child Protection Division
Honorable Patrick E. McGann, Presiding Judge, County Division
Honorable E. Kenneth Wright, Jr., Presiding Judge, First Municipal District
Honorable Shelley Sutker-Dermer, Presiding Judge, Second Municipal District
Honorable Edmund Ponce de Leon, Presiding Judge, Fourth Municipal District
Honorable David P. Sterba, Acting Presiding Judge, Fifth Municipal District
Honorable Ronald C. Riley, Presiding Judge, Sixth Municipal District
Attached is Special Order 2008-23 addressing the reassignment of Judge McGinnis.
IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF COOK COUNTY
SPECIAL ORDER NO.: 2008-23
SUBJECT: Assignment of Judge
In order to promote public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary while taking into consideration the nature and severity of any charges against or implications of improper conduct by a judge, Supreme Court Rule 56 provides that a Chief Judge may temporarily assign a judge to restricted duties or duties other than judicial duties. The reasons for such assignment include, but are not limited to, a judge being formally charged with the commission of a crime which involves moral turpitude or reflects adversely upon the judge's fitness to serve, a judge allegedly violating the Code of Judicial Conduct or a judge being publicly implicated in conduct which, if true, would constitute impropriety or an appearance of impropriety which involves moral turpitude or threatens irreparable injury to the public, to the judicial branch of government, or to the orderly administration of justice. See Supreme Court Rule 56 (a)(1), (2) and (3).
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED:
To ensure the perception and reality of the highest standards of conduct, effective May 20, 2008, Judge Sheila McGinnis is assigned to restricted duties in the Office of the Presiding Judge of the First Municipal District performing administrative duties only, subject to further order of this court. Such assignment is made pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 56 (a)(1), (2) and (3), the court having considered that on May 9, 2008, the Tinley Park Police Department of Tinley Park, Illinois, arrested Judge Sheila McGinnis and charged her with the following offenses: driving under the influence of alcohol, failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident and failure to provide proof of valid insurance.
Dated this 20th day of May, 2008. This order shall be spread upon the records of this court and published.
Timothy C. Evans
Circuit Court of Cook County