Reprint from the Chicago Tribune By MEGAN CREPEAU
Cook County Judge William Raines has been taken off the bench of his felony courtroom after he was caught on a YouTube livestream last week mocking an attorney who had argued before him earlier that day.
According to an order signed Tuesday by Chief Judge Timothy Evans, Raines has been reassigned to “restricted duties or duties other than judicial duties,” which generally focus on paperwork. He also must undergo sensitivity training and gender bias counseling, and the matter will be referred to the Judicial Inquiry Board.
Raines appeared with an attorney before the Circuit Court’s executive committee on Tuesday and “expressed contrition,” according to the order.
The subject of the ridicule, attorney Jennifer Bonjean, said last week she would make a complaint against Raines to the Judicial Inquiry Board, which investigates allegations of wrongdoing by Illinois judges and can file formal charges against those judges with the Illinois Courts Commission.
Bonjean participated in animated arguments Jan. 11 regarding the case of Roosevelt Myles, who is trying to get his decades-old murder conviction dismissed.Advertisement
Later that day, at the end of Raines’ livestreamed court call, the judge mentioned Bonjean to two Cook County prosecutors and an assistant public defender who remained on the videoconference. The attorneys who participated in the conversation were not involved in the Myles case.
“Can you imagine waking up next to her every day? Oh, my God,” Raines said.
“There would be a number of things wrong with my life if I was waking up next to her,” Assistant State’s Attorney Susie Bucaro said.
“I couldn’t have a visual on that if you paid me,” Raines said.
Raines also went on to call Bonjean’s colleague a “man-child,” and ridiculed her demeanor earlier that day.
“Did you see her going nuts? Glasses off, fingers through her hair, the phone’s going all over the place, it’s insane,” he said.
Raines cut the feed after he noticed the video was still being publicly livestreamed to YouTube. The video was available for public viewing on YouTube until Thursday before being marked as “private.”
Raines recused himself from the Myles case the day after the conversation. On Thursday, Bonjean successfully asked Criminal Division Acting Presiding Judge Erica Reddick to preserve the video, in part so she could bring a complaint to the Judicial Inquiry Board.
Raines has been a Cook County judge since 2014. Before taking the bench, he spent much of his legal career in private practice as a criminal defense attorney. For six years in the 1980s, he was a police officer in Oakland, California; he retired after being shot while on duty.
Bonjean is a high-profile New York-based attorney who has made her name, in part, doing work to overturn alleged wrongful convictions.
She also represented actor Bill Cosby in a successful appeal that overturned his conviction for a sex-crimes case. Recently, she signed on to represent R&B singer R. Kelly, who was convicted last year on federal racketeering and sex abuse charges.