Former Illinois judge imprisoned for heroin nears release

BELLEVILLE, Ill. (AP) — A former southern Illinois judge serving a two-year prison sentence for heroin possession and a weapons charge has been assigned to a St. Louis halfway house as his release date nears.

Michael Cook was presiding judge for St. Clair County’s drug court. He was arrested in May 2013, two months after the cocaine-overdose death of fellow judge and former prosecutor Joseph Christ at a Pike County hunting cabin owned by Cook’s family.

The Belleville News-Democrat reports that Cook will be joined at the halfway house by former county probation officer James K. Fogarty, who is due to be released three years early after pleading guilty to selling cocaine to Cook and Christ. Both were at a minimum-security federal prison in Pensacola, Florida.

Cook’s release is scheduled for Feb. 20.