An Illinois judge who overturned a teenager’s sexual assault conviction for raping a sleeping 16-year-old girl has been removed from office.
The Illinois Courts Commission on Friday removed Adams County Judge Robert Adrian after holding a three-day hearing in Chicago following a complaint against him.
Adrian had convicted Drew Clinton, of Taylor, Michigan, then 18, of sexually assaulting Cameron Vaughan, 16, during a May 2021 graduation party in October 2021.
But at the sentencing hearing, months after his conviction, Adrian said the boy had served “a lot” of time behind bars (148 days) and that while he couldn’t sentence him for time served, he could overturn the verdict and leave him in freedom. .
The judicial commission’s decision said Adrian “engaged in multiple instances of misconduct” and “abused his position of power to indulge his own sense of justice while evading the law.”
Illinois Judge Robert Adrian was removed from office after overturning his own conviction for a teenage sex offender.
Adrian had convicted Drew Clinton, 18, of Taylor, Michigan, of sexually assaulting Cameron Vaughan, 16 (pictured), during a May 2021 graduation party in October 2021.
But at his sentencing hearing, months after his conviction, Adrian said the boy had served “a lot” of time behind bars: 148 days.
The state Judicial Investigation Board filed a complaint against Adrian after the judge overturned Clinton’s conviction in January 2022.
At the time, the judge said: ‘He has no record, none at all. By law, the court is supposed to sentence this young man to the Department of Corrections… This court will not do that. That is not fair. There is no way because of what happened in this case that this teenager should go to the Department of Corrections. I won’t do that.’
Under state law, Clinton would have been required to serve a minimum of four years in the Illinois Department of Corrections.
The commission could have issued a reprimand, censure or suspension without pay, but its decision said it had “ample grounds” to immediately remove Adrian from his position in Adams County in western Illinois.
The complaint said Adrian had acknowledged that he was supposed to impose the mandatory four-year sentence against Clinton, but that he would not send him to prison.
Adrian was also accused of lying under oath about his reasons for overturning the conviction and kicking a prosecutor out of the courtroom after liking a social media post critical of the judge.
The judge told the prosecutor: [‘I don’t get on social media, but my wife does, and she saw the thumbs-up you gave to people attacking me … I can’t be fair with you. Get out.’
Cameron, now 18 years old, waived her right to anonymity and said she passed out drunk in the basement and woke up to find Clinton sexually assaulting her while holding a pillow over her face.
Clinton claimed they had consensual sex and that she was not as drunk as she claims she was.
According to court transcripts, after he reversed Clinton’s conviction, Adrian blamed parents and adults for ‘having parties for teenagers, and they allow coeds and female people to swim in their underwear in their swimming pool. And, no, underwear is not the same as swimming suits.’
The state Judicial Inquiry Board filed a complaint against Adrian after the judge threw out Clinton’s (pictured) conviction in January 2022
Vaughan told the Chicago Tribune following Friday’s decision that she was ‘very happy that the commission could see all the wrong and all the lies that he told the entire time’
He added: ‘It’s just — they allow 16-year-olds to bring liquor to a party. They provide liquor to underage people, and you wonder how these things happen. Well, that’s how these things happen. The court is totally disgusted with that whole thing.’
Vaughan told the Chicago Tribune following Friday’s decision that she was ‘very happy that the commission could see all the wrong and all the lies that he told the entire time. I’m so unbelievably happy right now. He can´t hurt anybody else. He can’t ruin anyone else’s life.’
Adrian said that the decision to remove him is ‘totally a miscarriage of justice. I did what was right. I’ve always told the truth about it.’
Adams County court records show that Clinton’s guilty verdict was overturned because prosecutors had failed to meet the burden of proof to prove Clinton guilty.
But in Friday’s decision, the commission wrote that it found Adrian’s claim that ‘he reversed his guilty finding based on his reconsideration of the evidence and his conclusion that the State had failed to prove its case to be a subterfuge – respondent’s attempt to justify the reversal post hoc.’
Clinton cannot be tried again for the same crime under the Fifth Amendment. A motion to expunge Clinton’s record was denied in February 2023.