“A disgraced former Illinois drug court judge at the center of a courthouse drug scandal is getting time to square away things before serving a two-year sentence on heroin and gun convictions. But exactly where Michael Cook will spend his time behind bars at his own expense remains unclear.
A filing by U.S. District Judge Joe Billy McDade shows the former St. Clair County judge must surrender by May 28 to whatever lockup the Federal Bureau of Prisons slots for him, with recommendations that Cook be considered for placement in prisons in Estill, SC, Pensacola, Fla., or Montgomery, Ala.
“The court recommends that the defendant be housed at a federal prison camp as close to his family as possible that will maximize his exposure to substance abuse and mental health treatment,” McDade wrote in the sentencing order and opinion filed April 1.”
St. Clair County may be just across the stateline from St. Louis, MO, but true-blue St. Louisans will recognize the need to seek help for substance abuse. A 2013 city-wide report showed decreasing numbers of addiction to various substances but a nagging problem with busting meth labs. If you’re a private individual or a public official who’s mustered the courage to seek help, professional drug rehab centers in Missouri like the Midwest Institute for Addiction are willing to guide you on the right path.
Cook resigned and was arrested in May, 2013. The former public defender later pleaded guilty to one count each of misdemeanor heroin possession and felony drug use while possessing a firearm. He previously admitted using heroin and cocaine, but sentencing guidelines could not estimate the actual amount of heroin, cocaine, and prescription medicine he used.
The circumstances behind Cook’s odyssey are murky. A trusted Missouri rehabilitation center tackling similar cases can be challenged in designing the subject’s treatment program and its duration. The judge entered a residential treatment facility while awaiting sentencing, where the defense claimed he successfully passed drug tests and attended counseling sessions.
Undergoing substance abuse rehabilitation at a facility like the Midwest Institute for Addiction, whether voluntary or court-ordered, is a necessary sacrifice. In the case of Cook, it’s never too late to prepare yourself for bigger challenges.
(Source: Disgraced Illinois judge awaits prison assignment, Belleville News Democrat, 7 April 2014)