News reports: McHenry County judge being investigated

A McHenry County judge is being investigated for potential ethics violations related to her 2006 divorce, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.

The Illinois Judicial Inquiry Board has launched an investigation into Judge Maureen P. McIntyre’s divorce from former lawyer Raymond Henehan after Sun-Times stories about McIntyre’s appointment to preside over a politically charged criminal case against the nephew of former Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley.

Henehan was disbarred in 2009 for misappropriating money from his clients, but still shares a Barrington Hills home with McIntyre despite the couple’s divorce that same year, the Chicago newspaper alleges.

The Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission said at the time that Henehan told clients he would hold onto $89,852.24, but instead deposited the money into his own bank accounts, which he used for personal and business expenses.

McIntyre reportedly received all the assets in the divorce, leaving Henehan little money to repay debts owed to his former clients, the Sun-Times said.

McIntyre presides over McHenry County juvenile court. She could not be reached for comment.

McHenry County Court Administrator Dan Wallis said he was unaware of the reported probe, nor would he comment.

The Judicial Inquiry Board investigates allegations of judicial misconduct and determines whether a formal charge is warranted before the separate Illinois Courts Commission. The Courts Commission can reprimand, censure, suspend, remove or retire a judge from the bench.

Judicial Inquiry Board officials would not comment Thursday, saying complaints are confidential until filed with the Courts Commission.

It is unclear who filed a complaint against McIntyre or what brought about the investigation. The judge has come under the Sun-Times’ scrutiny since she was assigned earlier this year to preside over the Cook County manslaughter case of former Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley’s nephew, Richard Vanecko.

While complaints filed with the Courts Commission are rare – the Judicial Inquiry Board has filed about one or two each year – they are not unheard of in McHenry County.

McHenry County Judge Michael Chmiel was investigated and later reprimanded – the Courts Commission’s least severe punishment – for holding an exclusive bond hearing for the jailed brother of Algonquin Township Highway Commissioner Robert Miller.

Chmiel maintained that he was acting in his normal duties and the hearing was not a judicial favor for a friend.

The commission concluded that Chmiel’s decision to convene special bond court created the appearance of impropriety.

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