May 31, 2014

Movies, crafts and brunch: Former judge Cook assigned to minimum-security prison

Former St. Clair County Circuit Judge Michael Cook has been assigned to a minimum security lockup in Florida to serve a two-year sentence for heroin possession and weapons convictions.

Cook, 44, is serving time at the Pensacola Federal Prison Camp, where there are no walls, razor wire or guard towers and brunch is served at 10 a.m. on weekends and holidays.

It's the same place where James K. Fogarty, 46, is serving a five-year sentence for cocaine distribution and weapons charges. Fogarty, a former county probation officer, admitted in federal court in East St. Louis that he sold an eighth of an ounce of cocaine to Cook and former county Associate Judge Joe Christ.

The sale for $270 occurred in March of last year, a day or so before Christ died of acute cocaine toxicity at a hunting cabin in Pike County then owned by Cook.

The prison camp's rule book states that after a six-month indoctrination period, both Cook and Fogarty likely will be eligible to leave the camp each day for jobs at the nearby Pensacola Naval Air Station.

Visits off prison grounds also are possible, and life within the dormitories includes regular movies, all types of sports and classes ranging from crafts to how to get along without smoking. During several hours of recreation time each day, prisoners may wear civilian clothing. Also, hair length is unrestricted as long as an inmate appears "well-groomed."

Part of Cook's sentence includes that he must pay for the cost of his incarceration, potentially more than $60,000. As a circuit judge, Cook's salary was more than $175,000.

Cook's heroin supplier, Sean McGilvery, 35, was sentenced to 10 years and is serving his sentence at the medium security federal prison in Marion.

A mother and son team who were in the heroin business with McGilvery and also were charged in the heroin overdose death of a 30-year-old woman were given longer sentences in federal prison.

Deborah Perkins, 66, is serving a 27-year sentence in low security in Aliceville, Ala., and her son, Douglas Oliver, is an inmate at the medium security federal prison in Oxford, Wis., and is serving 30 years.

Contact reporter George Pawlaczyk at or 618-239-2625.

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