Illinois Supreme Court cites double jeopardy clause as it denies re-sentencing in Clinton case

Adrian-Farha-Robinson

Judge Robert Adrian, Adams County State's Attorney Gary Farha and State Appellate Prosecutor David Robinson

The Illinois Supreme Court has rejected an attempt by Adams County State’s Attorney Gary Farha to have Drew Clinton re-sentenced.

An order from the justices, submitted Thursday by clerk Cynthia Grant, said, “The double jeopardy clause prohibits further prosecution even where an acquittal is based on an egregiously erroneous foundation.”

After finding 18-year-old Clinton guilty of one count of criminal sexual assault during a bench trial on Oct. 15, Judge Bob Adrian changed his mind at Clinton’s sentencing hearing on Jan. 3 and declared him not guilty. Adrian said the 148 days Clinton served in the Adams County Jail was “plenty of punishment” and released him from custody.

Farha worked with Appellate Prosecutor David Robinson’s office and Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul’s office to explore options regarding Adrian’s decision.

“While we respect the ruling, we are extremely disappointed in the recent decision of the Illinois Supreme Court regarding the Drew Clinton criminal case,” Farha said in a statement to Muddy River News. “We believed the victim when she came forward, we believed her when she testified in Court, and we believe her now.”

“The decision of the trial judge (Adrian) and the comments he made at sentencing were incredibly insensitive and not supported by the evidence. A victim’s clothing does not excuse the actions of her rapist. A victim’s intoxication does not excuse the actions of her rapist. Nothing a victim does excuses the actions of a rapist. Our society has a disproportionate focus on the actions of victims of sexual violence, rather than on the actions of their perpetrators. This decision is a sad reminder that we will have a long way to go to change this mindset.

We knew that attempting to overturn this verdict would be a herculean effort, but we believe it was necessary to try…We will never regret supporting every victim to the fullest extend of the law.”

Clinton’s accuser, Cameron Vaughan, gained sympathy from victim’s rights groups and came forward to discuss the ruling, even appearing on national television to do so. Muddy River News has reached out to the Vaughan Family for a comment.

Adrian was called out nationally as well for his reversal and was removed from trying felony cases by Chief Circuit Judge Frank McCartney.

Attorney Drew Schnack, who represented Clinton during his trial, said the action should be the final word on the case. This case is the second he’s had before the state’s highest court.

“It’s what I said all along,” Schnack said. “I can’t imagine the Supreme Court would take up this issue when there is no history of something like this ever being before the Supreme Court. Cases have to end sometime.

“The constitution would’ve been trampled on because of the double jeopardy clause. It would’ve been negated. We don’t just try people until they are convicted.”

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