Illinois Judge Removed from Office

( – On Feb. 23, a seven-member Illinois Court Commission removed Robert Adrian from the bench for reversing the assault conviction of then 18-year-old Drew Clinton during his January 2022 sentencing hearing.

Clinton had been found guilty by Adrian of assaulting an unconscious Cameron Vaughan during a 2021 graduation party when she was 16. However, during Clinton’s sentencing hearing, Adrian ruled that the almost five months Clinton spent in county jail was enough of a sentence.

Since the law states that the conviction carries a minimum sentence of four years, Adrian reconsidered his guilty verdict to “solve the problem” of sending Clinton to prison. During sentencing, Adrian said that prosecutors had “failed to prove their case,” ruling Clinton not guilty so he could impose the shorter sentence.”

According to the report from the commission, Adrian reversed his decision to find Clinton guilty so he could “intentionally circumvent” imposing the mandatory sentence of four years. The report also found that Adrian believed Clinton was guilty but did not believe he should serve prison time for the assault because he was a teenager with no prior criminal record. In its report, the commission wrote that Adrian had “misused his position” when he refused “to faithfully apply the law.”

During the investigation conducted by the Illinois Judicial Inquiry Board, the commission found that when he gave his sworn testimony, Adrian had lied about his reasons for reversing the verdict. According to the commission’s report, Adrian also improperly removed a prosecutor from the courtroom as retaliation for the prosecutor “liking” a social media post criticizing the judge.

Adrian commented on his removal from the bench calling it “a miscarriage of justice,” arguing that he “did what was right.”

Clinton’s victim, Vaughan, said she was “very happy” with the commission’s decision to remove Adrian.

In February 2023, a request to expunge Clinton’s record was denied.

Adrian is the fourth judge the commission has removed since 2003.

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