Adrian Removed From Criminal Cases in Adams County

By Benjamin Cox on January 14, 2022 at 9:08am

A judge in Adams County has been removed from handling criminal cases in the 8th Judicial Circuit after two controversial weeks on the bench.

The Quincy Herald Whig reports that Adams County Judge Robert Adrian has been reassigned to hear small claims, probate, civil cases and other legal matters after an emergency administrative order was filed by Chief Judge of the 8th Circuit J. Frank McCartney yesterday.

The move comes several days after Adrian’s reversal of his own conviction from a three-day bench trial in October of 18 year old Drew S. Clinton for criminal sexual assault of a 16 year old victim. Clinton faced a minimum of 4 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections. Clinton had already served 148 days in the Adams County Jail, which Adrian said was a just sentence before reversing his conviction, according to court transcripts. After the ruling was announced, Adrian went on to admonish adults who held the party were the assault occurred, saying they had taken their responsibilities lightly by allowing minors to drink alcohol and swim in a pool in their underwear: “The court is totally disgusted with that whole thing.”

The victim told Quincy Police that she attended a graduation party where she drank alcohol and swam in a pool before she taken to a neighboring house where she fell asleep. She told police that when she woke up, she had a pillow pushed on top of her head and she was being sexually assaulted by Clinton. The victim said she yelled at Clinton to stop before eventually pushing him off the top of her. The Herald Whig says a police report indicated where the victim went to a nearby bedroom after the incident and told a friend what happened before being given a ride back to her home where she slept outside in a camper overnight before telling her father about the incident the next morning. The victim’s father immediately called police.

The vacated ruling and subsequent comments in court by Adrian has drawn criticism and headlines internationally.

McCartney made the order after he was made aware that Adrian had kicked lead prosecuting attorney for the Adams County State’s Attorney’s office, Josh Jones, out of his courtroom on Wednesday. Adrian told Jones in the courtroom that he couldn’t deal fairly with him after learning about Jones posting support for critics of Adrian’s on social media following the Clinton ruling.

McCartney’s order assigned Judge Scott Larson to handle criminal felony cases and emergency protection orders, and assigned Judge Tad Brenner to cover Judge Holly Henze’s conflict family docket until further order. Adrian has also been removed from hearing any jury trials in the future.

McCartney also ordered new judges for a handful of specific cases that Adrian had been handling.

Judge Amy Lannerd was ordered to preside over the high profile murder case against Natasha McBride of Quincy. McBride is accused of 4 counts of first degree murder and a slew of other charges in the death of a Rushville grandmother and her three grandchildren.

Lannerd will also preside over the carjacking, home invasion and sexual assault case against Karen Blackledge of Quincy. Blackledge is being charged separately in a case that also involves Bradley Yohn of Springfield from an alleged burglary incident that occurred on North Bottom Road in November.