An Illinois judge is being slammed for reversing his own verdict to send an 18-year-old boy to jail for raping a 16-year-old girl as he believes it is "not just" and the accused who already spent 148 days in custody in county jail was "plenty of punishment."
Adams County Judge Robert Adrian said it would not be right to sentence Drew Clinton, 18, to prison for raping Cameron 'Cammy' Vaughan, 16, during a graduation party in Quincy in May 2021.
Not only did Adrian reverse his own decision but also, he fumed at Josh Jones of the Adams County State's Attorney's Office to leave the courtroom. "Mr. Jones get out," said Adrian. According to reports, Jones was set to appear in an unrelated case but had apparently "liked" a Facebook post supporting domestic violence survivors in the wake of Adrian's extraordinary ruling in the rape case.
Justice Not Done
Vaughan said that she rushed to the bathroom of the courtroom crying after Adrian reversed his decision to send Clinton to jail, leaving him escort free now. Vaughan, 16, had alleged that Clinton, 18, had raped her at a Memorial Day weekend party in Quincy, Illinois on May 30, 2021. She told police that she had passed out after drinking and woke up with a pillow being pushed onto her face and Clinton inside of her.
Adrian had initially found Clinton guilty and was about to sentence him to jail but last week he reversed his decision saying that it would not be right to send him to prison for raping Vaughan.
"By law, the court is supposed to sentence this young man to the Department of Corrections. This court will not do that. That is not just," Adrian said last week. "There is no way for what happened in this case that this teenager should go to the Department of Corrections. I will not do that."
Going by Illinois' law Clinton is supposed to serve minimum four-year sentence, which Adrian should have given him. However, instead of doing that he created a scene inside the courtroom while reversing his verdict and ruled that the prosecutors have failed to prove their case.
This now has effectively set Clinton, who now lives in Michigan, free, with almost no chance of an appeal to retry him. The defense had asked for a bench trial, which the prosecutor would have had to agree to. A bench trial is when a judge takes on the jury's role as factfinder and rules on the court proceedings, and then hears the evidence and decides whether the defendant is guilty or not.
Vaughan who is still in shock after Adrian's decision to reverse his own ruling has now identified herself as the victim and spoken out. She said that Adrian's decision now makes her feel that fighting for justice is pointless.
She also shared how Clinton had intoxicated her at the aprty and raped her. "I asked him to stop multiple times and he wouldn't," Vaughan told WGEM. "I finally got off the couch and pushed him off of me and he jumped up and just started playing video games as if nothing had happened."
According to a DailyMail.com report, she told the outlet that Adrian "is not suited to do his job." "Drew should be in prison if it wasn't for that stupid judge. His decision is unexplainable."
During a bench trial in October, Clinton was found guilty of one count of criminal sexual assault. But last week, Adrian changed his mind and sensationally declared the teen "not guilty" during a sentencing hearing.
According to a copy of last week's hearing transcript, Adrian insisted that Clinton had a clean record before assaulting the girl, and had already endured "plenty of punishment" by spending 148 days in a county jail.
This, however, isn't the first time Adrian has been embroiled in controversy. He had earlier faced challenges in 2019 for a decision he made in a 2015 homicide case, when he allowed a jury to hear about a homicide suspect's attempt to steal a handgun in Quincy days before he shot two people. An Illinois Appellate Court ultimately ruled on Adrian's favor.