VIDEO: Cook County judge disciplined after dropping gun in courthouse

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A Cook County judge was disciplined after a surveillance camera captured him allegedly dropping a gun in a Chicago courthouse. (WLS)

A Cook County judge was disciplined after a surveillance camera captured him allegedly dropping a gun in a Chicago courthouse.

A committee of 17 presiding Cook County Circuit Court judges conferred behind closed doors in the office of Chief Judge Timothy Evans on Wednesday and decided to re-assign Judge Joseph Claps, 70, to non-judicial duties until further notice.

Claps was assigned at the Leighton Criminal Courts building in the Little Village neighborhood. A security camera showed him dropping a silver handgun while walking down the main hall inside the courthouse's front entrance on July 3.

The gun was being carried under his left arm and, after dropping it, Claps is seen picking it up and putting it in his right pocket and walking on.

A sheriff's spokeswoman said the weapon was believed to be loaded.

Claps was later seen on a second security camera removing the gun from his pocket and putting it back under his left arm.

Two sheriff's deputies reported the incident to their supervisor and Claps was subsequently charged with a misdemeanor for carrying a concealed weapon in a prohibited area.

The sheriff's department said Claps has a valid Firearms Owner Identification card and a concealed carry permit, but a spokeswoman said only authorized law enforcement officers are allowed to bring guns into the courthouse.

Claps was offered the opportunity to be at Wednesday's hearing, but he declined. His lawyer was not present either.

The ruling means he cannot handle any cases, but it does allow him to do research and perform weddings. He goes to court on the criminal charge next week.
Related Topics:
gun lawsjudgecook countycourtChicagoLoopLittle Village
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