The Madison County Record Jul. 10, 2014, 2:13pm

Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission (ARDC) spokesman Peter Rotskoff said the commission can’t confirm an investigation of St. Clair County lawyers.

He said on July 9 that investigations remain confidential until the commission files formal disciplinary charges.

James Porter, spokesman for U.S. attorney Stephen Wigginton, had said a day earlier that Wigginton's office was in a disclosure process with the ARDC concerning St. Clair County lawyers.

The subject of drug use within the legal community was discussed during an interview former circuit judge Michael Cook had with authorities following the cocaine intoxification death of judge Joseph Christ. He died at Cook's hunting lodge in Pike County on March 10, 2013.

Cook told Pike County Sheriff Paul Petty that he and several others like him in the judicial system used illegal drugs. Cook also told Petty that an attorney had given Christ a "one-hitter" cocaine device as a gift for becoming a judge.

The Supreme Court operates the ARDC, which oversees about 65,000 Illinois lawyers and about 26,000 who registered from addresses in other states.

Forty staff lawyers responded to 4,613 inquiries last year, initiated 6,073 investigations of 4,041 attorneys, and filed 83 disciplinary complaints.

The Supreme Court disbarred 35 lawyers last year.

It suspended 19 until further order, 40 for specific periods, and 18 with conditions.

It placed 18 lawyers on probation, censured 11 and reprimanded eight.

Belleville lawyer James Mendillo is one of seven board members.

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