St. Clair County Chief Judge John Baricevic can find no evidence that James Fogarty misused his former position as a probation officer while allegedly selling cocaine.

Really? Of course, to find evidence, you have to want to find it, conduct an honest investigation, and look in the right places.

“So far there doesn’t appear to be any indication that he wasn’t doing his job appropriately,” the judge announced earlier this week. “We reviewed all his files.”

Yes, the files. That’s where the evidence would be. Who can argue with that logic? If Fogarty had misused his position in the criminal justice system, it surely would be recorded in the Fogarty files. Just examine his files.

Nothing incriminating? Case closed.

Baricevic said Fogarty’s cases have been cross-referenced with the names of former Circuit Judge Michael Cook and late Associate Judge Joe Christ. “We are looking at the cases from every angle we can,” he asserted. “Cook dismissed Fogarty’s traffic ticket, and we discovered that. The computer spits out anything with both names.”

That’s it? That’s the big investigation?

That’s all we get from the Big Cheese who said, “We’re doing whatever we can to get to the bottom of whatever the issue is. Any community has to have confidence in public servants, including judges. That they’re fair, honest, and act with integrity. If they’re not, we owe them an appropriate response,” he proclaimed.

What about Fogarty’s drug suppliers and clients?

Do we even know who they were? Is anyone cross-referencing their names?

Was Fogarty buying from or selling to parolees?

Was Cook or Christ or other judges benefiting from Fogarty’s connections?

Would a computer search of files pick up any of this?

“There is no reason to believe Cook, Christ, or Fogarty used their positions to enhance their drug use,” Judge Baricevic concluded.

There’s only one problem -- and you, Judge Baricevic, pinpointed it: “Any community has to have confidence in public servants, including judges.”

We don’t. In particular, you.

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