Cook County judge reassigned after placing child in court's adult lockup

A judge has been reassigned to administrative duties after surveillance video was made public showing her putting a child in a courtroom lock-up reserved for adults, according to Cook County Circuit Court officials.

Judge Jackie Portman-Brown was removed from the bench pending a March 4 meeting of the Executive Committee of the Circuit Court of Cook County, says Pat Milhizer, a spokesman for Chief Judge Timothy Evans. Milhizer didn’t respond to questions about the reason for Portman-Brown’s re-assignment.

A video released by the Cook County sheriff’s office shows Portman-Brown escorting the child into the lockup while a male sheriff’s deputy is seen looking on. The Feb. 19 video also shows a female sheriff’s deputy locking the wire-mesh door to the cell and standing in front of the door. It appears the deputy is talking to the child for much of her 10-minute stay.

The child’s face is blurred in the video, and her exact age hasn’t been disclosed. The judge’s motivation for placing the child in the lock-up hasn’t been disclosed, and telephone calls Thursday to Portman-Brown for comment wasn't immediately returned.

“The Cook County sheriff’s office is conducting an internal investigation into the incident to determine whether all policies and procedures were followed by the deputies,” according to a statement from the sheriff’s office.

Both deputies have been assigned to administrative duties pending the outcome of the investigation.