On Sunday, February 25, 2024, The Associated Press reported that an Illinois judge who had overturned a man’s rape conviction has been removed from the bench.

Judge Robert Adrian of Adams County, Illinois drew widespread outrage in January 2022 when he threw out the conviction of Drew Clinton, an 18-year-old man who had been found guilty of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl at a graduation party. In his ruling, Judge Adrian said that the 148 days Clinton had already served in jail was sufficient punishment. However, the judge’s decision was in direct contradiction to state law, which mandated a four-year prison sentence for Clinton’s crime.

As a result of Judge Adrian’s controversial ruling, the Illinois Judicial Inquiry Board filed a complaint against him. A three-day evidentiary hearing was subsequently held in November 2023. On Friday, February 23rd, the Illinois Courts Commission issued their decision, finding multiple instances of misconduct by Judge Adrian. According to the Commission’s ruling, Adrian had “abused his position of power to indulge his own sense of justice while circumventing the law.” Due to the “ample grounds” presented, the Commission voted to immediately remove Adrian from the bench.

The Commission rejected Adrian’s claim that he had overturned Clinton’s conviction due to reconsidering the evidence. Instead, the ruling stated that Adrian was attempting to “justify the reversal post hoc.” Meanwhile, Drew Clinton cannot be retried for the same crime due to double jeopardy protections.

The ruling was welcomed by Cameron Vaughan, the young woman Clinton had been convicted of assaulting. Vaughan, who is now 18, had actively campaigned for Adrian’s removal from the bench. She stated she was “very happy” with the decision, saying “He can’t hurt anybody else. He can’t ruin anyone else’s life.” However, Adrian vowed to appeal, calling the Commission’s decision “a total miscarriage of justice.”



Source: The Associated Press