State Commission Moves To Bar Judge Impersonator | WBEZ
Skip to main content


State Commission Moves To Bar Judge Impersonator

The state board that oversees lawyers is moving to suspend Rhonda Crawford, a judicial candidate who impersonated a Cook County judge.

Crawford worked as a law clerk in the office of Cook County Chief Judge Timothy Evans. But on the morning of Aug. 11, she was introduced to a prosecutor in a courtroom as a judge, according to state records. The Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission, ARDC, found Crawford put on a judicial robe and heard three traffic cases from the bench.

A prosecutor working in the courtroom testified that Judge Valarie Turner introduced Crawford as a judge. The prosecutor said Turner turned over the judicial robe for Crawford to wear, and Crawford sat on the bench. The finding from ARDC stated that Crawford misrepresented herself and allowed the courtroom to believe she was a real judge.

Crawford claims she was shadowing Judge Turner. Crawford has since been terminated from her law clerk position, and Turner has been reassigned to non-judicial duties.

ARDC is recommending the Illinois Supreme Court take disciplinary action, a decision that could take months. In the meantime, the commission has filed for an interim suspension.

Crawford is running uncontested in the upcoming judicial race and does not intend to drop out.

In a statement, her campaign says the ARDC never moves so quickly in filing a complaint and that the move is intended to influence the election. It accuses the Cook County Democratic Party of wanting to get a different candidate elected into office.

The incumbent judge of the First Judicial Sub Circuit, Maryam Ahmad, is launching a write-in campaign. Ahmad lost to Crawford in the primary.

Get the WBEZ App

Download the best live and on-demand public radio experience. Find out more.