Peoria Judge Risinger reassigned over sentencing notes

Mar 5, 2013

10th Judicial Circuit Judge Michael Risinger is reassigned to civil court over concerns about his notes regarding his sentencing philosophy.  Chief Judge Michael Brandt says Risinger shared his rough agenda notes with lawyers and others ahead of a meeting about misdemeanor court.  One of the notes referenced a tie-in with the race and dress of the defendant when sentencing.  Risinger says his note should not stand alone, and he explained during the meeting that a sentencing hearing should take into account special circumstances with the defendant.  He says those could include a lack of opportunities and impoverished background that could be a function of racial discrimination.  Brandt says Risinger did not commit judicial misconduct, but that attorneys and prosecutors may have concerns.  Brandt says he ordered Risinger from Peoria’s misdemeanor court to a civil court in Tazewell County.  Brandt says a new judge will be assigned to Peoria misdemeanor court.