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Law Clerk Banned for Impersonating Judge Elected as Judge
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Rhonda Crawford

Summary: A former law clerk reprimanded just weeks ago for putting on the black rope to preside over traffic cases was elected as a judge in Illinois.

A law clerk facing charges of impersonating a judge in Chicago has been elected as a judge despite being banned from taking office. Rhonda Crawford has been vying for the position on the Cook County judicial subcircuit and was expected to since her name was the only one on the ballot. Crawford was running against a write-in opponent.


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Until Crawford, 45, is cleared of any wrongdoing, she cannot be sworn in to the $180,000 salaried position. She has been criminally charged with presiding over cases in place of a real judge and fired from her job at the courthouse. The Illinois Supreme Court suspended her law license temporarily.

Crawford, a former nurse, claims she has been shadowing judges to see how they work. Judge Valarie Turner suggested she put on the robe and preside over several traffic cases. Crawford explained, “I did not pronounce any judgments. …I did not tell anyone that I was the judge. I want to emphasize that the judge was always standing over me. She never left the bench.”

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She has pleaded not guilty to both charges. She said, “I allowed my respect for the judge and my enthusiasm to learn the procedures of being a judge to become a distraction to others and to my own life-long ambition of being on the bench. It is a lesson I will never forget.”

Do you think it was an overreaction to suspend her license and fire her? Tell us in the comments below.

To learn more about her charges, read Attorney Who Posed as Judge to Be Indicted.



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