US judge removed from cases after emails to return to bench

June 29, 2019 GMT

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — A federal judge who was removed from hearing criminal cases last summer as he was presiding over two of Illinois’ highest-profile cases will be resuming all his duties in September.

The (Champaign) News-Gazette reports that a judicial panel admonished Judge Colin Bruce for exchanging emails with a U.S. attorney’s office employee about one of his trials but concluded his decision-making on the bench wasn’t affected.

At the time of his removal, the Urbana-based judge was presiding over former U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock’s corruption case and the case of Brendt Christensen. Prosecutors in March agreed to drop charges against Schock. Christensen, a former University of Illinois doctoral student, was convicted this past week in the 2017 kidnapping and slaying of Chinese scholar Yingying Zhang.