Illinois Courts Commission reprimands Urbana appellate judge

Illinois Courts Commission reprimands Urbana appellate judge

URBANA — The Illinois Courts Commission has reprimanded an appellate judge from Urbana for using judicial resources to solicit paid lectures.

On Monday, the commission released its findings after the state's judicial inquiry board one year ago filed a complaint against Judge Robert Steigmann. The complaint alleged Steigmann used judicial resources, including his office's letterhead, to solicit paid lectures from police and medical groups.

The complaint says that could create the appearance of bias toward those groups, who may come before Steigmann's court.

In its report, the commission said there's evidence Steigmann in general "engaged in conduct that was prejudicial to the administration of justice and brought the judicial office into disrepute." Specifically, though, the report found no convincing evidence of the judge's inability to be impartial.

The report states that Steigmann testified his lectures were a way to "share his love of the law and educate the public." Steigmann also received permission from his presiding judge, he said.

But he later admitted his actions were "an error in judgment" and pledged not to seek paid lectures from people likely to come before his court.