St. Clair County

Michael Cook
5:45 pm
Fri March 28, 2014

Cook Gets Two Years In St. Clair County Heroin Case

Michael Cook is sworn in as a St. Clair County judge in 2010. He was sentenced on March 28 to two years in federal prison on drug and weapons charges.
Credit (Derik Holtmann/Belleville News-Democrat) / (

A former St. Clair County judge will spend two years in federal prison for federal drug and weapons charges. 

"When judges fall from grace, we expect them to land a little bit harder than the rest of us," said Judge Joe Billy McDade when he handed out the sentence to Michael Cook this afternoon. Cook pleaded guilty in November to heroin possession, and to being a drug user in possession of a firearm.

Read more
Michael Cook Sentencing
5:05 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

Federal Court Rejects Plea Deal For St. Clair County Judge Caught Up In Drug Scandal

Judge Michael Cook is sworn in as a St. Clair County judge in 2010.
(Derik Holtmann/Belleville News-Democrat) (

A federal court in Illinois has rejected a plea agreement that would have sent former St. Clair County judge Michael Cook to prison for 18 months on drug and weapons charges.

Judge Joe McDade, who normally presides over federal cases in Peoria, Ill., told attorneys for both sides today that he did not believe the proposed sentence was long enough to assure St. Clair County residents that their judiciary was in good hands. McDade was assigned to the case after two judges from the Southern District recused themselves. 

Read more
Metro East Rally
2:59 pm
Fri December 27, 2013

Metro East Residents Rally For More Transparency In Government

Lee Griffin, the chair of Metro East Citizens for Social and Economic Progress, addresses protesters outside St. Clair County headquarters on Dec. 27, 2013.
Credit (Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio and the Beacon)

A group of citizens fed up with what they call a lack of transparency and responsiveness in St. Clair County government aired a wide variety of concerns today outside the county's headquarters in Belleville.

Read more
IL Judge Steps Down
2:24 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

Illinois Judge Facing Drug Charges Quits

Michael N. Cook is sworn in as a St. Clair County Circuit Judge on Oct. 1, 2010, at the county building in Belleville, Ill. He resigned from the bench on Wednesday (May 29, 2013). Cook was charged May 23 by the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois with possessing weapons while under the influence of heroin, a felony, and misdemeanor heroin possession.
Credit (Derik Holtmann/Belleville News-Democrat) / (

A St. Clair County judge whose colleague died of a cocaine overdose while the two were on a hunting trip is stepping down from the bench as he defends himself against federal heroin and gun charges.

Circuit Judge Michael Cook resigned Wednesday by letter to the chief judge, John Baricevic. Baricevic says the letter is brief and doesn't offer a reason for Cook's departure.

Cook was charged last Friday with possessing heroin and having a gun while illegally using controlled substances. He's pleaded not guilty. 

Read more
Synthetic Drug Raid
12:09 pm
Tue April 10, 2012

St. Clair County cracks down on synthetic drugs

Some of the synthetic drugs and cash confiscated in Tuesday's raid in Illinois' St. Clair County.
(Joseph Leahy/St. Louis Public Radio)

Updated at 5:51 p.m. with more information, photo.

Thirteen businesses were raided in St. Clair County Illinois Tuesday in a new crackdown on illegal synthetic drugs. 

The raids on convenience stores, liquor stores and smoke shops stem from a law passed last year that broadens the chemical definition of the drugs.

Read more
3:51 pm
Fri December 16, 2011

Ranking: Madison, St. Clair Ill. counties among "most unfair" court jurisdictions in nation

(via Flickr/steakpinball)

Reporting from Illinois Public Radio's Amanda Vinicky used in this report.

An annual ranking again cites Illinois as a state rife with "judicial hell holes." But a group representing trial lawyers says the listing is bunk.

The American Tort Reform Association ranks Madison, St. Clair and McLean Counties among the most unfair court jurisdictions in the nation. And Cook County's on the watch list.

Read more
MidAmerica Airport warehouse
5:15 pm
Thu August 18, 2011

St. Clair County approves scaled-down warehouse at MidAmerica Airport

St. Clair County on Thursday renegotiated a deal with a Wall Street investor who wants to build a warehouse at MidAmerica Airport in Mascoutah, Ill.
(via Wikimedia Commons)

St. Clair County officials on Thursday approved a greatly scaled back plan for a privately-financed cargo warehouse at MidAmerica Airport in Mascoutah, Ill.

Read more
Shooting Range / St. Clair County
1:45 pm
Mon August 8, 2011

FAA says St. Clair County shooting range no danger to aircraft

(via Flickr/Cast a Line)

The Federal Aviation Administration says the Caseyville Rifle and Pistol Club is no danger to people or planes.

But officials in St. Clair County have a different view of the shooting range located near Scott Air Force Base and MidAmerica St. Louis Airport.

The county has been trying to get an injunction to shutter the club and insists the open-air range endangers low-flying planes.

County officials have asked a judge to toss out as evidence an FAA letter calling the shooting range safe.

Read more
St. Louis
3:37 pm
Fri January 7, 2011

State of St. Louis breakfast focuses on jobs

St. Clair County (IL) executive Mark Kern delivers his opening remarks to the State of St. Louis breakfast on January 7, 2011. (Rachel Lippmann, St. Louis Public Radio)

The subject of jobs and how to create them was front and center at the sixth annual State of St. Louis breakfast this morning.

The chief executives of St. Louis City, St. Louis County, St. Charles County and St. Clair County Illinois all say they expect a better economy in 2011 than 2010.

They all trumpeted the need to cooperate to ensure that happens.

St. Clair County executive Mark Kern wants to see the focus on one industry in particular.

Read more