Report: Judge Cook handled more than 1,700 cases

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BELLEVILLE, IL (KTVI) - We're getting a better picture of just how many cases former St. Clair County judge Michael Cook handled during his tenure.

Figures provided to the Belleville News-Democrat by St. Clair County officials reveal that Cook presided over 1,705 felony cases during his time as a judge.  The question now is how many of these cases will now come under scrutiny with Cook's charges and his resignation from the bench.

He's facing heroin possession and weapons charges. His trial is set for December in federal court.  Of those more than 1,700 felonies, 24 were jury trials and eight were bench trials.  Cook accepted 1,100 guilty pleas and had 319 cases pending when he was arrested in May.

Court documents made public last week revealed Cook was picking up heroin on an almost daily basis from a supplier in Belleville when he was arrested outside that man's home.

Cook's case broke when his friend and fellow judge Joe Christ died of a cocaine overdose while at Cook's hunting lodge in Pike County, Illinois, in March.

One man convicted of murder in Cook's court has already received a new trial. Another convicted murderer is requesting one.

St. Clair County State's Attorney Brendan Kelly says an independent review of cases in question is underway.  Kelly says he is taking each motion for a new trial on a case-by-case basis.