A Cook County judge is off the bench following a misdemeanor weapons charge after a gun fell out of his jacket at the courthouse, The Chicago Tribune reports. Judge Joseph Claps, 70, was reassigned to what was described as non-judicial duties pending an incident that occurred at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse last week.
Claps was charged with carrying a concealed weapon in a prohibited area, a Class B misdemeanor, after two deputies noticed a handgun fall out of the jurist’s jacket while it was draped over his arm.
Cameras documented Claps, who hears criminal cases for the court and has been on the bench for two decades, pause to pick up the light-colored handgun and place it in his pocket. While he reportedly has a valid firearms ID card and concealed carry permit, only law enforcement is permitted to carry in the courthouse. According to CBS 2, judges are not made to walk through metal detectors to enter the building.
A Class B misdemeanor in the Land of Lincoln can carry a maximum penalty of up to six months imprisonment and a maximum fine of $1,500. Claps is on administrative duty until the court’s executive committee meets.