Chicago-area Judge Joseph Claps, dropped a gun out of his coat last week in Cook County's criminal courthouse, was charged Wednesday with a misdemeanor in the incident.
Authorities said sheriff’s deputies saw Claps, 70, drop a pistol out of his jacket pocket on July 3, then pick it up and put it in his pants pocket, The Chicago Tribune reported. The gun was believed to have been loaded.
Claps has a concealed carry license, but weapons are not allowed in the courthouse even with a license, the Tribune reported. He was not detained or searched at the time of the incident.
Claps presided over felony criminal cases for Cook County but was reassigned to "nonjudicial duties last week pending a meeting of the circuit court executive committee," a spokesman for Chief Judge Timothy Evans’ office said, ABC7 reported.
The jacket was draped over the judge’s arm when the gun fell out as he walked through the lobby of the Leighton Criminal Court Building, a sheriff’s incident report said, the Tribune reported. Security cameras also captured the incident.
Claps was charged with a Class B misdemeanor for carrying a concealed weapon in a prohibited area, the Tribune reported. He was not held on any bail and will appear in court next week on the charge.
State attorney’s office spokesman Robert Foley said county prosecutors will request the Illinois Attorney General’s office handle the case to avoid a conflict of interest with the office because prosecutors try cases in front of Claps, the Tribune said.
Claps was formerly a Cook County prosecutor, assistant to the state attorney general, and has been a judge for more than 20 years, the last 15 years in the Criminal Division, the Tribune reported.
© 2023 Newsmax. All rights reserved.