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Lawyer Who Allegedly Impersonated Judge May Have Committed Suicide
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Rhonda Crawford. Photo courtesy of ABC7.

Summary: Rhonda Crawford allegedly committed suicide last week. 

On Thursday, Calumet City police responded to a call that a woman may have killed herself in her home. According to the Chicago Tribune, the woman was an attorney who was on trial for allegedly impersonating a county judge.

  
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“The incident is being investigated as an apparent suicide,” police Chief Christopher Fletcher said.

The attorney, Rhonda Crawford, 46, was found dead in her home in a surburb of Chicago. She was scheduled to go to trial today for a felony count of official misconduct and a misdemeanor count of false impersonation. She pled not guilty to the two charges and was free on $10,000 bail.

Crawford was indicted for allegedly pretending to be a judge in 2016 and presiding over three traffic cases. During her charade, she wore a judge’s robe that was borrowed from a friend, Circuit Judge Valarie Turner. Crawford had won the judge’s primary at this point when she ruled on three traffic cases, but she had not yet won the general election.

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After the summer, Crawford was elected to the bench, but she was under indictment and had her law license suspended. Her lawyer, Rob Robertson, said that he believed she would be acquitted.

“Rhonda was a truly great person who led an incredibly good life and wound up caught in a situation that was well beyond what it should have been,” Robertson said. “I feel very sorry for her friends and her family.”



After Crawford had been caught pretending to be a judge, she was fired from her clerkship with Chief Judge Timothy Evans. The job paid $57,000 a year.

“Chief Judge Evans is saddened to hear of Ms. Crawford’s passing and offers his condolences to her family and friends during this difficult time,” Evans’ spokesperson said.

Crawford said that she was sorry for presiding over the cases before she was sworn in, and she said that it was an honest mistake. She didn’t know what she was doing was criminal.

“Now, of course, I regret the day it happened,” Crawford said to the Chicago Tribune in 2016. “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 lifelong ambition of being on the bench. It is a lesson I will never forget.”

The medical examiner said that they are waiting for results of a toxicology test.

What did you think of Rhonda Crawford’s case? Let us know in the comments below.



 

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