Pursuant to action taken today by the Executive Committee of the Circuit Court of Cook County, Judge Valarie E. Turner has been temporarily reassigned to duties other than judicial duties in the office of the Presiding Judge of the First Municipal District, Judge E. Kenneth Wright, Jr. The assignment is effective until further notice.
The decision to reassign Judge Turner followed a meeting of the Circuit Court of Cook County Executive Committee convened today by Chief Judge Timothy C. Evans to discuss allegations of improper conduct involving Judge Turner. The committee was informed that Judge Turner allegedly permitted attorney Rhonda Crawford, a law clerk with the Office of the Chief Judge and candidate for judicial election in November 2016, to adjudicate at least two cases from the bench while wearing a judicial robe in Judge Turner’s courtroom.
Until today, Judge Turner had been assigned to the Sixth Municipal District Courthouse in Markham where she heard a variety of matters in rotation with other judges.
“The public’s confidence in the judiciary is the cornerstone of our system of justice, and I have taken the steps necessary to preserve that confidence,” said Chief Judge Evans. “Because the investigation is pending, I believe it is inappropriate to comment further at this time.”
In addition, Crawford was suspended pending internal investigation without pay by the Office of the Chief Judge. Her current annual salary is $56,961, and she has been employed as a law clerk/staff attorney with the office since 2011.