CHICAGO (CBS) — A law clerk accused of donning a robe and posing as a judge at the Markham courthouse has been fired from her job.
Cook County Chief Judge Timothy Evans’ office said Rhonda Crawford was fired as a law clerk/staff attorney on Friday, nine days after she was suspended without pay for allegedly hearing two cases while wearing a judge’s robe.
Crawford had been with the chief judge’s office since 2011, and was paid about $57,000 a year.
On Aug. 11, Crawford allegedly presided over two traffic cases at the Markham Courthouse, after Judge Valarie E. Turner allegedly allowed Crawford to wear her robe and sit on the bench. Turner allegedly stood nearby as Crawford adjudicated the cases.
Turner has since been reassigned to non-judicial duties, working in the office of Judge E. Kenneth Wright, Jr. in the First Municipal District.
The assignment is effective until further notice.
Crawford, a candidate for judicial election in November 2016, defeated two opponents in the Democratic primary in march, and was running unopposed in the November general election. It was unclear what effect her firing would have on her candidacy.
However, CBS 2 Legal Analyst Irv Miller has said it’s unlikely Crawford will ever legitimately serve as a judge.
“She may never get to put those robes on again,” CBS 2 Legal Analyst Irv Miller said earlier this month. “The sitting judge may lose her robes for doing this also.”
The Illinois Attorney Registration & Disciplinary Commission is responsible for licensing and disciplining lawyers, but it was unclear if the agency has opened an investigation or disciplinary proceedings against Crawford.
The Judicial Inquiry Board oversees state judges, but it also was unclear if the board has begun any proceedings against Turner.
The Cook County State’s Attorney’s office has confirmed it is conducting a criminal investigation of the case.