The Madison County Record Jul. 17, 2014, 10:36am

Drip. Drip. Drip.

That’s the sound being heard across the state.

It’s not a leaky roof or a faucet left running. That continuous, unrelenting  noise is the sound of truth coming out in dribs and drabs, one droplet at a time.

First St. Clair County Judge Joe Christ dies, reportedly of natural causes. Then it’s not natural causes, but a drug overdose.

The friend who was with him at the time and at whose hunting camp he died, fellow Judge Michael Cook, confides that he doesn’t do illegal drugs himself and professes not to know anything about his dead friend’s habit. On further reflection, Cook remembers that he used to do drugs, too, but insists that he’s clean now.

Cook says he thinks Christ received a cocaine ingestion device he was using from an attorney friend as a present upon becoming a judge (the perfectly wrong gift for such an occasion). DNA evidence strongly suggests, however, that the device was Cook’s.

Pike County Sheriff Paul Petty gets Cook to confess to cocaine use, and months later Cook cops a plea for a light sentence. His status as a suspect in the death of Christ is passed over by investigators and his statements about other illegal drug users in the legal community appear to be ignored.

Aware of the DNA evidence pointing to Cook as the owner of the fatal drug device, U.S. Attorney Stephen Wigginton of Fairview Heights punts, asserts through a spokesman that there was “not enough certainty to lay a criminal case on anybody.”

As for the failure to dig deeper into Cook’s comments about other high-flying legal eagles in Cook’s circle of drug users, the government spokesman blames this apparent lack of duty on “insufficient evidence to charge anyone else.”

For doing his job, Sheriff Petty is hit with a bogus charge of felony misconduct in an unrelated case, but is soon exonerated when an incredulous jurist dismisses the charge. And the state’s attorney who brought the inexplicable charge resigns.

The drip keeps dripping and only one thing can stop it: A real investigation into the sordid, illegal activities of Cook and company.

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