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Judge seen on video dropping gun in Chicago courthouse

CHICAGO -- A judge is charged with carrying a concealed weapon in a prohibited area after he was caught on video dropping a gun in a Chicago courthouse.

A spokesman for Chief Judge Timothy Evans' office says Cook County Circuit Judge Joseph Claps has been reassigned to "nonjudicial duties," pending a review. The Executive Committee of the Circuit Court of Cook County made the decision, according to a statement. 

The Associated Press left a message seeking comment Wednesday from Claps. 

The sheriff's department says the 70-year-old Claps was in the lobby of the Leighton Criminal Court Building on July 3, when a handgun fell from the jacket draped over Claps' arm. Surveillance video obtained by WGN shows the judge retrieving the gun and putting it in his pants pocket. 

A Cook County sheriff's deputy who witnessed the incident notified superiors, who reviewed the video, the station reports. The sheriff's office says Claps has a concealed-carry permit, but only on-duty law enforcement officers may carry guns in the courthouse.

Claps is scheduled for a court appearance next week.

Judges can be temporarily reassigned to restricted or other non-judicial duties "whenever there are charges of implications of improper conduct, depending on the severity and nature," the statement from the chief judge's office says. In Cook County Circuit Court, administrative duties can include performing legal research, conducting marriage ceremonies and reviewing petitions for reduced court-filing fees.

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