Adrian Seeks Retention in the 8th Judicial Circuit

By Benjamin Cox on July 11, 2022 at 2:33pm

AP/File Photo

An embattled Adams County Judge will announce his intention to seek retention to the bench today in Illinois’ Eighth Judicial Circuit.

Quincy Judge Robert Adrian sent emails to Quincy media outlets over the weekend saying he would announce his intentions at 5PM Tuesday in front of the Adams County Courthouse, according to Muddy River News. Adrian also wrote in the email that he would be free to comment about the decision that drew him national ire.

Adrian found 18 year old Drew Clinton guilty of felony criminal sexual assault following a bench trial in October 2021. However, during post-trial motions at the beginning of Clinton’s sentencing hearing on Jan. 3, Adrian acknowledged he was required to impose a mandatory jail sentence. The statute under which Clinton was convicted required a minimum four-year sentence in the Department of Corrections. Adrian refused to impose the jail sentence, then threw out the conviction, resulting in Clinton being released from the Adams County Jail. Adrian was later reassigned from all criminal cases until further notice by the Chief Judge of the 8th Circuit J. Frank McCartney of Pike County.

The decision in January gained national media attention and local protests, as well as a call from the Illinois Attorney General’s Office to the Illinois Supreme Court asking for intervention. Petitions have been circulating since the decision calling on Adrian to resign from the bench.

Adrian testified under oath before the Judicial Inquiry Board in April about the decision after multiple complaints were filed. The JIB’s complaint says Adrian explained his decision to reverse his finding of guilt in the sexual assault case was based upon the evidence, and his conclusion that the prosecution had not proved beyond reasonable doubt that the victim could not give consent. The JIB alleged in its complaint, filed June 17, that this testimony was false, and Adrian knew it was false when he made the statements and that he violated several rules of the code of Judicial Conduct.

The case will go before the Illinois Courts Commission for a formal hearing at a yet-to-be-determined date. Adrian has been a judge in the 8th Circuit since 2010 and was retained in 2016.