Adrian Returns to Criminal Court Docket in Adams County

By Benjamin Cox on January 4, 2023 at 11:36am

An Adams County Judge under complaint with the Illinois Judicial Inquiry Board has been reinstated to some of his former duties on the bench.

It’s been nearly a year since Judge Robert Adrian was removed from hearing criminal cases in the 8th Judicial Circuit by Chief Judge of the 8th Judicial Circuit J. Frank McCartney. According to Muddy River News, in administrative orders filed on December 20th, Adrian and Judge Tad Brenner will be assigned to felony criminal court cases.

McCartney said assignments in the 8th Judicial Circuit are reviewed annually, but the decision to assign Adrian and Brenner to the felony docket was precipitated by the assignment of Judge Amy Lannerd to the Fourth District Appellate Court and associate judge Roger Thomson being elected to the circuit judge position in Mason County.

Thomson was invested on December 1st in Mason County, as he fills a vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Alan Tucker. McCartney said in the orders that Thomson will remain the judge presiding over the Bradley Yohn sexual assault case in Adams County.

Adrian had been removed from felony criminal cases in the wake of being reassigned to the small claims dockets, the Law Magistrate docket, and the probate docket on January 13th, 2021 after throwing Adams County Lead Trial Attorney Josh Jones out of his courtroom the preceding day after Adrian said, “I can’t be fair with you today.” Jones had reacted to a post on QUANADA’s Facebook page that criticized Adrian’s decision for vacating a guilty verdict of 18 year old Drew Clinton on a charge of criminal sexual assault. The vacating of the ruling drew international criticism.

McCartney said in his assignments that Brenner will handle all felony sex cases.

The Illinois Judicial Inquiry Board filed a complaint with the Illinois Courts Commission on June 21st against Adrian, alleging he violated rules of the Code of Judicial Conduct in relation to the Clinton case. A status hearing in the Adrian case before the Illinois Courts Commission is set for February 2nd.

Adrian was retained in the November 2022 General Election as a circuit judge in the 8th Judicial Circuit. He needed 60% of the vote to be retained, and received 62%. Adams County was the only county in the circuit he lost.

Adrian, a Republican, has been on the bench since winning election in 2010.