Would-be judge facing trial for ruling in traffic cases is found dead

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A would-be judge who was facing a trial Monday for ruling in three traffic cases has been found dead in her home in suburban Chicago.

Rhonda Crawford, 46, was free on bond. She was pronounced dead on Thursday, report the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times.

Crawford was facing a felony charge of official misconduct and a misdemeanor charge of false impersonation. She was accused of donning a judge’s robe and ruling on the cases in August 2016 as part of a shadowing process. She was a law clerk and staff attorney in Cook County, Illinois, at the time, but was fired after the incident.

The judge who allowed Crawford to take the bench was forced to retire in December 2017 after acknowledging that she has Alzheimer’s disease.

Crawford won a judicial election in Cook County even though a state supreme court order temporarily banned her from the bench.

Crawford’s lawyer, Rob Robertson, told the Tribune he did not know the cause of death. An autopsy is scheduled. He also spoke with the Sun-Times.

“I think she was put in an untenable situation by a number of others,” Robertson told the Sun-Times. “I looked forward to vindicating her on Monday. But that’s not going to happen now.”

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