Illinois Judge Removed from Office for Unlawful Actions and Controversial Ruling on Rape Conviction

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  • Source: Wayne Dupree
  • 02/24/2024
A judicial monitoring board discovered that an Illinois judge had broken the law and acted improperly, leading to his removal from office. The judge had caused controversy when he overturned a man's rape conviction involving a 16-year-old girl.

When the Illinois Courts Commission heard a complaint against Adams County Judge Robert Adrian for three days in Chicago in November, the commission decided to remove Adrian from office on Friday.

Adrian 'engaged in many instances of wrongdoing' and 'abused his position of authority to gratify his own sense of justice while bypassing the law,' according to its findings.

The panel decided that it had "ample reasons" to remove Adrian from the bench in Adams County, western Illinois, right away, even though it could have just given a reprimand, censure, or suspension without pay.

Adrian found then-18-year-old Drew Clinton of Taylor, Michigan, guilty in October 2021 of sexually abusing a 16-year-old female during a graduation celebration in May 2021.

The state Judicial Inquiry Board filed a complaint against Adrian in January 2022, after the judge's decision to overturn Clinton's conviction, citing the 148 days Clinton had served as sufficient punishment.

According to the lawsuit, Adrian admitted that Clinton should have received the obligatory four-year term, but he refused to put him behind bars. According to court records, Adrian said, "That is not fair," at the sentence hearing. "No, I will not do it."

Cameron Vaughan was accused of being sexually assaulted by Clinton. Usually, until a victim comes out publicly, the Associated Press does not publish the identity of the victim.

In November, at the age of eighteen, Vaughan told The Associated Press that she was "totally astonished" by Adrian's reversal of Clinton's ruling but that it had strengthened her resolve to remove the judge. Her family, friends, and supporters joined her during the commission sessions in November.

Vaughan, whose story is corroborated by a court transcript of the January 2022 hearing, stated that the judge informed the court that "this is what occurs whenever parents allow children to consume alcohol, to swim in pools with their underwear on" after Adrian overturned Clinton's conviction.

The prosecutor in the case said that her "heartsbleeds for the victim" in response to Adrian's actions, which incited fury in Quincy, Illinois, Vaughn's hometown, and beyond.

After Adrian was removed on Friday, Vaughan expressed her happiness to the Chicago Tribune, saying, "I am extremely thrilled that the commission could see all the wrong and all the falsehoods that he said the whole time." Right now, I am really thrilled. There is no one else he can harm. He is unable to destroy the lives of others."

Adrian told the Chicago Tribune over the phone on Friday that the commission's decision to remove him is "absolutely a miscarriage of justice." I followed the proper course of action. I have always been honest about it.

The prosecution's failure to achieve the standard of evidence required to establish Clinton's guilt resulted in the overturning of the guilty judgment, according to Adams County court documents.

However, the commission concluded in its Friday judgment that Adrian had made a false assertion, saying that "he reversed his guilty finding based on his assessment of the facts and his opinion that the State had failed to establish its case," which was the respondent's effort to rationalize the reversal after the fact. Due to the Fifth Amendment, Clinton cannot face the same charges again. In February 2023, a move to remove Clinton's record was turned down.


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