St. Clair County Court System Tainted After Drug Scandal

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BELLEVILLE, IL (KTVI)-- A woman who fought drug addiction through treatment, fears the drug scandal in St. Clair County's court system will discourage addicts who need help.

One judge died of cocaine intoxication this spring. Another judge and a probation officer, face federal drug charges.

Nichole Depper, 39, knows the inside of the county jail and the inside of the St. Clair County Court House all too well.

Now she's just as shaken as the legal community is over the cocaine intoxication death of Judge Joe Christ and the drug related arrests of Judge Mike Cook and probation officer James Fogarty.

Nichole asked that we conceal her face. She is trying to resume a healthy life. She says she has been sober for nearly three years thanks to drug rehab at the Gateway Foundation Program in Caseyville.

But now she worries the drug scandal at the court house will hurt addicts who need tough supervision.

Depper also questions if Cook, who was present when Joe Christ died from cocaine, is getting special treatment.

The U.S. attorney for southern Illinois won't comment on the case other than to say the investigation is not over yet. More arrests and more charges could still be issued.

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