Judge dismissed for misconduct following reversal of sexual assault sentence

CHICAGO, IL – A judicial oversight body in Illinois has dismissed Adams County Judge Robert Adrian from his position, citing multiple instances of misconduct and abuse of power. The decision came after a three-day hearing in November, prompted by a complaint against Adrian for overturning a rape conviction.

In May 2021, Drew Clinton, then 18, from Taylor, Michigan, was found guilty of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl at a graduation party. Adrian, however, dismissed Clinton’s conviction in January 2022, stating that the 148 days Clinton had spent in jail were sufficient punishment. The judge’s decision sparked widespread outrage and led to the filing of a complaint by the state Judicial Inquiry Board.

The complaint highlighted that Adrian had admitted his obligation to impose a mandatory four-year sentence on Clinton, but chose not to. The judge’s refusal to follow the law and his abuse of power to serve his own sense of justice were key factors in the commission’s decision to remove him from the bench.

The victim, Cameron Vaughan, who has chosen to come forward publicly, expressed her shock at the judge’s decision to overturn the conviction. Vaughan attended the November commission proceedings and expressed her relief at Adrian’s removal, stating that he could no longer harm or disrupt anyone else’s life.

Adrian, however, maintains that he acted justly and truthfully, describing his removal as a miscarriage of justice. Despite Adrian’s claims, the commission found his justification for reversing the guilty verdict to be a post hoc attempt to rationalize his actions.

Clinton’s record remains unexpunged as a motion to do so was denied in February 2023. Under the Fifth Amendment, Clinton cannot be retried for the same crime.