AG Raoul going to Illinois Supreme Court to overturn Adrian’s decision in sexual assault case that has attracted national attention
Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul is going to ask the Illinois Supreme Court to order Adams County Circuit Judge Robert Adrian to impose a new sentence to Drew Clinton.
Raoul today filed a mandamus complaint and a motion for supervisory order asking the Court to direct Adrian to sentence Clinton “in accordance with state law.”
Adrian found Clinton guilty of felony criminal sexual assault following a bench trial in October 2021, but then, on January 3, Adrian vacated Clinton’s conviction, which resulted in Clinton being released from the Adams County Jail.
“The mandatory sentencing range set by the Illinois General Assembly for felony criminal sexual assault is four to 15 years in prison. In addition to the insensitivity to the victim in this case, the judge’s decision to vacate the conviction and call the 148 days Clinton served in county jail ‘plenty of punishment,’ demonstrates an abuse of power,” Raoul said. “I appreciate our collaboration with the Adams County State’s Attorney and the Illinois Office of the State’s Attorney Appellate Prosecutor. I am urging the Illinois Supreme Court to direct the judge to sentence the defendant in accordance with state law.”
Clinton was charged with three counts of criminal sexual assault for allegedly assaulting Cameron Vaughan at a graduation party in Quincy. Vaughan was 16 years old and was unable to give consent when she was allegedly assaulted by Clinton, who was 18 years old at the time of the incident.
Adrian found Clinton guilty of one count of criminal sexual assault, a felony, after a bench trial that included testimony from the victim and witnesses at the party. However, when sentencing Clinton, Adrian said he would not sentence Clinton to prison, as mandated by Illinois’ mandatory minimum sentencing requirements, saying the almost five months Clinton had already served in the county jail was “plenty of punishment.” Instead, Adrian vacated the conviction and released Clinton from custody.
Raoul’s mandamus complaint urges the court to order Judge Adrian to reinstate the verdict and issue a sentence consistent with the mandatory sentencing range set in statute.
Raoul’s actions comes after collaboration with the Illinois Appellate Prosecutor’s Office and Adams County State’s Attorney Gary Farha’s Office. Farha put out an appeal to David Robinson, the chief deputy director at the State’s Attorney’s Appellate Prosecutor’s Office in Springfield on January 19. Robinson is also the deputy director of the Fourth Judicial Appellate District.
“Victims of sexual assault often make the decision to not come forward because they believe that the criminal justice system will not believe them nor protect them. The victim in this case took the brave steps of reporting the crime, cooperating with the investigation, and testifying at trial. Because of her courage, the defendant was convicted of his crime. There is nothing more frustrating and disheartening to our community, this victim, and to all victims of sexual assault when any defendant avoids the legal consequences of his conduct,” Adams County State’s Attorney Gary Farha said. “We appreciate the hard work of the Attorney General and the Appellate Prosecutor’s Office in ensuring that this brave young woman have the opportunity to hold her attacker responsible.”
In the complaint, Raoul points out that criminal sexual assault is a Class 1 felony with a statutory sentence range of four to 15 years in prison. Raoul argues that Adrian exceeded his authority when he concluded – in defiance of the General Assembly’s intent – that 148 days in county jail was a “just sentence” due to Clinton’s age and lack of criminal record.
Raoul said by refusing to enforce a valid criminal statute, the judge acted as a “quasi-legislator and usurped the authority of the legislative branch while undermining confidence in the judicial process.”
Raoul further argues that Judge Adrian’s comments at the sentencing hearing demonstrate his own recognition that he lacked the authority to depart from the mandatory minimum sentencing range
Adrian was later removed from the criminal docket by Chief Judge of the 8th Judicial Circuit J. Frank McCartney on January 13.
Adrian’s sentence attracted national attention and widespread criticism.
Vaughan appeared on the syndicated Dr. Phil program this week.
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