Adrian ‘not recommended’ for retention by local bar members


Judge Robert Adrian surveys the crowd before giving a speech at the Adams County Courthouse on July 12. Cammy Vaughan is facing Adrian on the right. — Photo by Lisa Wigoda

QUINCY — Circuit Court Judge Robert Adrian was not recommended for retention by those who responded to a poll conducted by the Illinois State Bar Association (ISBA).

As it is done before every judicial retention vote, the questionnaire was sent to attorneys in the Eighth Judicial Circuit, which consists of Adams, Brown, Calhoun, Cass, Mason, Menard, Pike, and Schuyler counties. There were 49 bar members who chose to weigh in on Adrian’s qualifications.

In January, Adrian made a controversial decision when he chose to overturn the conviction of 18-year-old Drew Clinton, whom he had found guilty of criminal sexual assault in October 2021. Clinton faced a minimum of four years in prison, but Adrian said the 148 nights he spent in jail was “plenty of punishment” and a “just sentence”.

The victim, Cammy Vaughan, who was 16 at the time of her encounter with Clinton in May 2021, spoke out publicly following Adrian’s decision. The story went viral, gaining national media attention.

Adrian is seeking to retain his seat in the November 8 election. He made a public declaration of his intent to keep the seat in a speech on the Adams County Courthouse lawn on July 12.

Adrian’s speech and the protest of July 12, 2022.

Adrian had 46 attorneys respond to the poll on his conduct and he scored a 29.55 on the “meets requirements of office” scale. In comparison, fellow Eighth Circuit Judge Scott Larson, who is also up for retention in November, scored a 97.56. Larson had 41 attorneys comment on his conduct.

Adrian’s score was ranked 115th of the 117 candidates in Illinois who were considered for polling before the general election, according to ISBA.

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