St. Clair County

Natalie Creamer, the community outreach coordinator for Gateway Pet Guardians, holds a puppy that will be available for adoption through the agency.
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

Law enforcement and animal welfare agencies in St. Clair County, Ill., are using a new playbook for animal abuse cases that they say will make it easier to prosecute those cases in the county.

(Derik Holtmann/Belleville News-Democrat) / (http://www.bnd.com)

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.

(Derik Holtmann/Belleville News-Democrat) / (http://www.bnd.com)

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. 

(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.

(Derik Holtmann/Belleville News-Democrat) / (http://www.bnd.com)

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. 

(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.

(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.

(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.

(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.

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.