Judge charged after gun falls from jacket at Cook County's main criminal courthouse

Judge charged after gun falls from jacket at Cook County's main criminal courthouse

A Cook County judge dropped a small silver and black handgun as he walked through a courthouse on Chicago’s South Side last week, video shows—and now he faces a misdemeanor charge.

The judge is licensed to carry a concealed weapon and has a valid FOID card, a Cook County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman said.

The pistol fell out of Judge Joseph Claps suit coat jacket at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse on July 3, Cara Smith of the Cook County Sheriff’s Office said. He was charged with carrying a concealed weapon in a prohibited area Friday after deputies who witnessed the incident reported it through their chain of command. The Cook County Sheriff's Office provided NBC 5 with security footage of the moment Claps dropped the weapon.

“The video speaks for itself,” Smith said.

She said the chief judge’s office was consulted after the incident was reported.

“He (Claps) was nothing but cooperative throughout the whole process,” she said.

Claps is licensed to carry a concealed weapon and has a valid Firearm Owners Identification card, Smith said.

His next court date is July 19.

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