Pratt Selected to Fill Adrian Eighth Circuit Bench Vacancy in Adams County

By Jeremy Coumbes on May 11, 2024 at 10:23am

An Adams County attorney is on the move again now that the State Supreme Court has voted to fill a seat on the bench it vacated earlier this year.

Muddy River News is reporting that the newly appointed Chief Public Defender for Adams County, Christopher Pratt has been tapped as the new at-large Circuit Judge for the Eighth Judicial Circuit.

The seat became open after the Illinois Courts Commission removed former judge Robert Adrian from the bench in a ruling handed down in February of this year.

The commission ruled that the Judicial Inquiry Board proved “by clear and convincing evidence” that Adrian gave untruthful testimony before the Board constituting “willful misconduct” in his handling of the Drew Clinton case in January 2022.

Adrian found then-18-year-old Drew Clinton guilty of felony criminal sexual assault following a three-day bench trial in October 2021. Then, on Jan. 3, 2022, Adrian vacated the decision saying that the time that Clinton had already spent in jail was enough of a punishment, resulting in Clinton being released from jail.

The Illinois Judicial Inquiry Board filed a complaint on June 17, 2022, against Adrian alleging he had circumvented the law by vacating his verdict and refusing to impose a mandatory sentence.

The ruling also found Adrian couldn’t be an impartial justice after he had removed Assistant Adams County State’s Attorney Josh Jones from his courtroom after Jones had liked a comment critical of Adrian’s decision to vacate the conviction on social media, and that Adrian made statements he knew to be false while testifying under oath before the Illinois Judicial Inquiry Board on April 8, 2022.

Pratt has served in the Public Defender’s Office as Deputy Public Defender since 2016. He was promoted to Chief Defender back in February following the resignation of Todd Nelson.

Pratt’s appointment is effective June 10 and will conclude on Dec. 7, 2026, after the November 2026 general election.