BELLEVILLE, Ill. (KMOX) – The holiday spirit passed pretty quickly in Belleville, where some disgruntled citizens gathered outside the St. Clair County government building, Friday morning.

Banging his plastic gavel at the mock courtroom he set up outside the county building, Lee Griffin explained why he’s calling for random drug testing of judges, “We’re not trying to put labels on anybody. What are we hiding for? These are our kids, our future. A mind full of dope can’t cope.”

The group called Metro East Citizens for Social and Economic Progress wants random drug testing to become mandatory for judges, and for federal and state officials to launch an investigation into drug use by St. Clair County judges and possible effects on cases they presided over.

St. Clair County Associate Circuit Judge Joe Christ died of a cocaine overdose last March, and former circuit judge Michael Cook has pleaded guilty to federal drug and weapons charges.

A request for comment from the St. Clair County state’s attorney’s office went unanswered.


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