US judge removed from cases after emails to return to bench

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — A federal judge who was removed from hearing all his criminal cases last summer as he was presiding over two of Illinois’ highest profile cases will be allowed to start hearing criminal cases again 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.

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