Special treatment? Former judge's daughter was co-defendant with alleged heroin dealer

News-DemocratJune 7, 2013 

The daughter of a former St. Clair County judge was a co-defendant in a drug case against a man who federal prosecutors say provided heroin to another county judge, Michael Cook.

Katherine C. O'Malley, 33, of Belleville, the daughter of retired Circuit Judge Michael O'Malley, is listed as a co-defendant in the 2011 case of Sean McGilvery of Belleville, who was charged with possessing crack cocaine.

Cook, a longtime friend of McGilvery's, ordered McGilvery to complete a drug treatment class, then dismissed the case.

O'Malley's case has been expunged and is no longer listed in the circuit clerk's records, but her attorney, Greg Skinner, said she was ordered to complete drug school, then Circuit Judge John Baricevic dismissed the case on May 23, 2012. It was the same punishment as McGilvery received.

State's Attorney Brendan Kelly cited an Illinois law that bars him from discussing an expunged case.

Skinner said he applied to have O'Malley's case expunged and the Illinois State Police, which ran a background check on her, did not object to the expungement. Circuit Judge Milton Wharton signed the expungement order on Oct. 4, 2012, Skinner said.

Neither O'Malley nor her father, who retired in 2010, could be reached for comment.

In copies of police reports obtained by the News-Democrat, a St. Clair County sheriff's deputy pulled over O'Malley at 10:45 p.m. on Dec. 4, 2011, for running a stop sign at North 37th St. and Columbus Drive in Belleville.

"Her eyes were glassy and she was slurring her speech," the report stated. " ...O'Malley said she had taken a Xanax earlier in the day, but had not taken anything illegal or had any alcohol."

O'Malley consented to a search of her car, according to the report, and officers found a rock of crack cocaine that weighed .9 grams on the passenger side of the car where McGilvery was sitting.

Police interviewed O'Malley, who declined to speak further to officers, and McGilvery. He told Investigator Phillip Koch that he had been using heroin for about two days and that he was up to a half a gram a day and started taking methadone a day earlier.

McGilvery told Koch that he would pick up heroin for others and take some for himself as payment, according to the report. He also told Koch that he sold cocaine.

Both O'Malley and McGilvery were charged with possession of a controlled substance.

In 2006, O'Malley was charged with possession of heroin. In that case, Alexander County Circuit Judge Mark Clarke was appointed by the Illinois Supreme Court to handle the case because her father was still on the bench. Then-Chief Judge Jan V. Fiss had asked for an appointment from outside the circuit on O'Malley's case.

Clarke placed O'Malley on two years probation, but prosecutors moved to revoke the probation when O'Malley fled, failing to report for probation. She also failed to comply with recommended drug treatment, complete community service and pay her fines, court records show.

Circuit Judge John Baricevic extended her probation for another two years on Dec. 7, 2007. On Nov. 17, 2010, Baricevic found O'Malley successfully completed her probation and dismissed her case.

Last month, Cook, 43, was arrested May 22 outside McGilvery's house in the 300 block of N. 38th Street in Belleville. Cook was charged with one misdemeanor count of heroin possession and a felony count of being a heroin user in possession of a firearm. He pleaded not guilty in federal court and was released on a recognizance bond. Cook is in a private drug treatment center in Minnesota.

McGilvery, 34, is currently being held on federal conspiracy to distribute and possession of more than two pounds of heroin. He is accused of pooling his money with a confidential source who traveled to Chicago to buy heroin. The trips began in 2008 and continued until January, according to an FBI affidavit. It states that McGilvery contributed $20,000 toward the purchase of heroin.

Former St. Clair County probation officer James Fogarty also faces charges of distribution and possession with intent to distribute cocaine. Fogarty, 45, of Belleville, was released on house arrest pending trial.

Fogarty told federal investigators that he sold $280 worth of cocaine, about an eighth of an ounce, to Cook and Associate Judge Joe Christ, the day before the two judges went to a Pike County, Ill., hunting cabin owned by Cook's father, Belleville attorney Bruce Cook.

Cook found Christ unresponsive on the cabin's bathroom floor at about 6:18 p.m. March 10. The cause of death was found to be cocaine toxicoloty, according to Pike County Coroner Paul Petty.

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