Judge Risinger reassigned to civil court

By WEEK Reporter

March 5, 2013 Updated Mar 5, 2013 at 11:08 PM CDT

PEORIA, Ill. -- Judge Michael Risinger is being reassigned from Peoria misdemeanor court to a civil court in the 10th Judicial District.

A Tuesday statement from Chief Circuit Judge Michael Brandt says that the reassignment stems from a note sent to attorneys and court-related attendees on February 20 that references with Risinger's sentencing philosophy.

The note referenced a link between the race of the defendant and how they are dressed. Brandt said that without context or explanation, the note was inappropriate.

Brandt says that Risinger told him that the note was intended to outline circumstances such as the defendant coming from an impoverished background or having a lack of opportunities due to societal racial discrimination. Other circumstances would include dress that signifies gang affiliation.

However, Brandt found the idea of affiliating a person with gang membership based on the way they are dressed problematic.

Brandt said that he found no evidence that Risinger committed any judicial misconduct. However, due to the fact that the note could cause concerns for both a defendant's attorneys and the prosecution, he decided to reassign Risinger, effective March 1.

Brandt says in his statement that Risinger has been cooperative throughout the process.

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