Editorials

About judicial drug testing

If only every judge in St. Clair County were as interested in ensuring the St. Clair County judiciary is drug-free as Circuit Judge Stephen McGlynn.

McGlynn recently took a drug test and gave us a copy of the results – he passed – to re-emphasize the need for drug testing for judges.

In 2013 McGlynn and Associate Judge Heinz Rudolf voluntarily took drug tests in the wake of the death of new Associate Judge Joe Christ from a drug overdose, and the resignation of Circuit Judge Michael Cook after his arrest for buying heroin. People in the courthouse said they were shocked and had no idea Cook was using drugs.

Despite these tragedies and even though most of the county circuit judges say they favor drug testing, the idea hasn’t caught on. If any other judges have had a drug test in recent months, they haven’t told us about it.

McGlynn wrote in 2013 that while there are legal hurdles to requiring mandatory drug testing for elected circuit judges, a drug test could be required of appointed associate judges. McGlynn pledged to vote only for associate applicants who passed a drug test and urged other judges to do the same: “If the circuit judges would vigilantly honor such a pledge, it would encourage those who have a substance abuse problem to get help now. Had such a policy been in place in the last few years, I am confident we would have saved lives and avoided tragedy.”

Will other judges follow McGlynn’s lead? Or do they still have their heads in the sand about the need?

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