A judge in the west Illinois who found an 18-year-old man guilty of assaulting a 16-year-old girl has come under fire after he later overturned the conviction, saying the man’s 148 days in prison was enough punishment.
The prosecutor in the case said her “heart bleeds for the victim,” and an organization that helps victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse said Adams County Judge Robert Adrian’s ruling sends a “horrifying message to other rape victims that their behavior, not that of the rapists, will be assessed,” the (Quincy) Herald-Whig reported.
On Wednesday, Adrian, apparently angered by the criticism, told another prosecutor who appeared before him in an unrelated case to leave his courtroom because the prosecutor made a comment about facebook that was critical of the judge.
“I can’t be honest with you,” Adrian told the Adams County prosecutor, the Herald-Whig reported. “Get out.”
The commotion stems from a case that began with the arrest of Drew Clinton after a May 30 graduation party.
During the trial, the judge heard evidence that the girl told police she attended the party, where she drank alcohol and swam in a pool in her underwear before eventually passing out. She said she woke up to a pillow pressed to her face and Clinton sexually assaulted her.
According to the police report, the teen was able to push Clinton off her and then told a friend what had happened. She later told her father, who called the police.
In October, Adrian found Clinton guilty of sexual assault, but in a January 3 hearing said he would not impose the mandatory minimum sentence of four years in prison.
“Mr. Clinton has spent nearly five months in county jail, 148 days,” said Adrian, according to the transcript of the hearing posted online by local media. punishment. That would be a just punishment.”
“There’s no way,” the judge explained, “for what happened in this case, that this teen should go to the Department of Corrections. I won’t do that.”
But the judge said that if he ruled that the criminal law he was required to follow was unconstitutional, his decision would be reversed and Clinton would be sentenced to prison. To avoid an appeal he thought would be successful, Adrian said what he could do was determine that prosecutors had failed to “prove their case” and dismiss the assault charge.
The prosecutor in the case, Anita Rodriguez, said she had never seen anything like Adrian’s statement in her 40-year career, and was concerned about the impact of the ruling on the victim. The trial “has done a lot for her healing process, but now she’s back where we were.”
The Quincy Area Network Against Domestic Abuse said the ruling sends a dangerous message.
“The judgment confirms the fact that standards for women have always been impossibly high, while for men they are impossibly low,” the group said in a statement.
But Clinton’s attorney Drew Schnack said the final verdict was correct because the prosecution had failed to prove his case and the evidence was not strong enough to warrant a conviction.