An insanity plea has kept Cynthia Brim out of jail and in her role as Cook County Judge—albeit on suspension over a battery charge.
After lengthy testimony Monday, Judge Liam Brennan found Brim not guilty of pushing a sheriff's deputy by reason of insanity, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Brim has been on suspension since the March 9, 2011 incident in which she shoved the sheriff’s deputy and threw keys during a bizarre meltdown outside the Daley Center court complex. However, Brim wants to get back to work even as she continues to collect her $182,000 annual salary, reports ABC Chicago.
Extensive testimony during the one-day trial revealed many of the judge's mental health woes, including a history of five hospitalizations for psychotic episodes, four of which occurred during her time on the bench. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, each of the episodes was tied to Brim being off her medications at the time.
In November, Brim was handily reelected to the bench after garnering slightly more than 60 percent of yes votes required for retention. At Brim's court hearing the day after her election victory, her attorney James Montgomery told the court Brim suffers from bipolar disorder and was "legally insane" at the time of the attack.
"It's fair to say that the public did not know that when it voted to retain her as a judge last November," reports ABC.
Sheila Murphy, the former presiding judge at the Markham courthouse, told the Tribune, "Judges are human beings. We get physically sick and have mental health issues like anybody else."
Despite being found legally insane by the court, Brim can’t simply be booted from the bench. According to the Sun-Times, an Illinois Supreme Court spokesman said two things must happen before a judge's removal: the Judicial Inquiry Board must file a complaint, and the Illinois Courts Commission must have a hearing to determine if the complaint is justified.
“That’s a constitutional requirement,” Supreme Court spokesman Joseph Tybor said.
Per the judge's orders, Brim must undergo a mental health evaluation by the Illinois Department of Human Services which must be submitted for review by March, reports DNAinfo Chicago. Brim could face court-mandated treatment when she returns to court March 15.