Adrian defiant, says he has ‘The Hammer of Justice’ and intends to stay on the bench

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QUINCY — Cammy Vaughan was in the front of the line Tuesday afternoon.

She was part of 25 or so people who wanted to protest Judge Robert Adrian’s announcement that he intends to stay on the bench. Vaughan was the young woman who went public after Adrian had overturned the sexual assault conviction of Drew Clinton, who allegedly had assaulted Vaughan.

Alongside Lindsey Lane, who was toting a bullhorn, Vaughan and her supporters quietly made the two-block walk from Washington Park to the Adams County Courthouse. Lane had urged the protestors to remain on public property and be peaceful as they approached Adrian’s event.

“I want to make one thing perfectly clear. I will never sentence an innocent person to the Department of Corrections. It’s never going to happen,” said Adrian, who turned away from the media cameras as he began speaking. “I don’t care how much the left criticizes me. I don’t care how much the left lies about me. I don’t care how much they try to cancel me, which is what they are doing now. I’m going to do exactly what the law says. Drew Clinton was not guilty of the offenses he was charged with. That’s what the law showed. That’s what the evidence showed.”

So much for quiet.

The protestors, who walked on the sidewalk directly in front of the courthouse through a throng of Adrian supporters and media, began shouting down the judge and Adrian defiantly raised his voice above the crowd.

Both sides got rather heated in the sun, still warm just after 5 p.m., but aside from some jostling for position and shouts, the were no physical altercations.

Adrian said Vaughan’s supporters were made up of people who never attended any part of the Clinton trial, and they hired a public relations firm.

“I will not be intimidated,” Adrian said before moving his supporters to the Schnack Law Office and away from the protestors. “You gave me the hammer of justice, and I will continue to swing that hammer of justice and protect the innocent. And you know the hammer of justice will come down hard on the guilty who deserve it.”

Adrian, who must garner at least 60 percent “yes” votes in November to be retained as a circuit judge, faces a complaint from the Illinois Judicial Inquiry Board regarding his actions in the Clinton case.

Adrian found Clinton, 18, 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 testified under oath before the Judicial Inquiry Board in April. The JIB’s complaint said 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.

Adrian also allegedly testified that his reversal was not an effort to “thwart the law.” 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.

Adrian said he has filed a response to the JIB complaint and did not know when the Illinois Courts Commission would rule. He made no further comments about the case.

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