Cook County judge who let clerk take bench forced to retire

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Saturday, December 2, 2017

CHICAGO -- A Chicago-area judge who allowed a law clerk to preside over several traffic cases has been forced into retirement.

The Chicago Sun-Times reports the Illinois Courts Commission ordered Cook County Circuit Judge Valarie E. Turner's immediate retirement Friday. A year ago, the Judicial Inquiry Board determined Turner suffered from Alzheimer's disease.

Turner was taken off the bench after letting law clerk Rhonda Crawford hear cases. Turner was assigned to administrative duties after the August 2016 incident.

The newspaper says Turner and her attorney could not be reached for comment Friday. Her attorney, Gino L. DiVito, has previously criticized the judicial board for filing the complaint. He has noted that Turner hasn't been charged with misconduct and because of her illness was "already effectively retired."

Crawford, who was fired and charged with impersonating a judge, won a judicial election in November. The Illinois Supreme Court has barred her from taking office.