The Illinois judge who sparked outrage after overturning the sexual assault conviction of an 18-year-old man last week has been removed from handling criminal cases.
Adams County Judge Robert Adrian was reassigned to civil matters such as small claims and probate records in an administrative order issued Thursday by Chief Judge Frank McCartney of the Eighth Judicial Circuit, according to the (Quincy ) Herald-Whig.
It came after Adrian faced heat for overturning the conviction of Drew Clinton, who was found guilty of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl at a graduation party in last May.
The judge delivered the incredible reversal during Clinton’s sentencing hearing on Jan. 3, saying the teen’s nearly five months in county jail was “a lot of punishment.” Clinton had faced a mandatory minimum sentence of four years.
The judge had presided over the three-day trial in October, finding Clinton guilty of one of three sexual assault charges.
He said he overturned the conviction to avoid an appeal he said would be successful, thus determining that prosecutors had not “proved their case”.
The prosecutor in the case, Anita Rodriguez, said she had never seen a judge overturn a decision like this and was concerned about how it might affect the victim.
Adrian’s decision prompted an immediate backlash from sexual assault survivor advocates and compelled the victim to go public, fondly recalling the horrific moment she woke up after being sexually assaulted.
“I woke up at my friend’s house with a pillow over my face so I couldn’t be heard and Drew Clinton inside me,” Cameron Vaughan said on Tuesday, WGEM reported.
“I asked him to stop several times and he didn’t. I finally got up off the couch and pushed him off of me and he jumped up and started playing video games like nothing was wrong,” she said.
Cameron’s mother, Rachael Vaughan, told the Post on Thursday that she fears the overturned conviction will cause her daughter to sink mentally.
“To say we are completely shocked and amazed is an understatement,” she said.
“I worry that when the smoke calms down and things calm down, it will take him to a dark place. It’s an ongoing worry.”
The distraught mother said her daughter had completely changed after the assault. Her grades plummeted, she quit the track team and went so far as to attempt suicide.
She told the Post that the judge “completely pulled the rug out from under her.”
“The judge ruled that he was 18 and had no criminal record, that five months was enough,” Vaughan said.
“And it’s not long. He was found guilty and he was supposed to serve four years and at least 85% of that time… It’s the law.
“It reopened all the wounds, and it’s heartbreaking because after her attack, she tried to kill herself.”
A petition calling on Adrian to face charges of “abuse of judicial power and discretion” had garnered more than 23,000 signatures by Friday night.
According to The Herald Whig, an agitated Adrian told a prosecutor before him in a separate case to walk out of his courtroom after the lawyer “liked” a Facebook post criticizing his decision.
Clinton’s attorney, Drew Schnack, said he agreed with the judge’s decision. He argued that the prosecution had failed to prove their case and that the evidence was not strong enough to warrant a conviction.
With post wires