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Should AG Raoul try to yank this guy’s pension?

Monday, Feb 26, 2024 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Robert Adrian became just the fourth judge in Illinois history to be removed from the bench by the Illinois Courts Commission on Friday. Adrian’s response to the Tribune

“I’m just going to retire and enjoy my retirement,” he said Friday.

Adrian was paid $227,900 last year.. That’ll be quite a pension.

* From the Illinois Courts Commission ruling

Respondent’s misconduct has seriously damaged the integrity of the judiciary. He intentionally subverted the law and then lied about it under oath to serve his own interests. He also retaliated against another officer of the court because he was facing the backlash of his own misconduct. “[T]he judiciary’s values of truth and honesty are pillars of our legal system,” and “lying under oath is an attack on our legal system, which depends on truth and credibility.” It is simply intolerable that a sworn member of the bench would knowingly circumvent the law and then provide false and misleading testimony on multiple occasions to cover up his actual motive.

* A bit of background from the AP

An Illinois judge who sparked outrage by reversing a man’s rape conviction involving a 16-year-old girl has been removed from the bench after a judicial oversight body found he circumvented the law and engaged in misconduct. […]

In October 2021, Adrian had found then 18-year-old Drew Clinton of Taylor, Michigan, guilty of sexual assaulting a 16-year-old girl during a May 2021 graduation party.

The state Judicial Inquiry Board filed a complaint against Adrian after the judge threw out Clinton’s conviction in January 2022, with the judge saying that the 148 days Clinton had spent in jail was punishment enough.

The complaint said Adrian had acknowledged he was supposed to impose the mandatory four-year sentence against Clinton, but that he would not send him to prison. “That is not just,” Adrian said at the sentencing hearing, according to court transcripts. “I will not do that.” […]

After Adrian threw out Clinton’s conviction, Vaughan said that the judge told the court “this is what happens whenever parents allow teenagers to drink alcohol, to swim in pools with their undergarments on,” she recounted in an account supported by a court transcript of the January 2022 hearing.

* Back to the Tribune

Adrian attempted to defend his reversal, saying that his reevaluation of the evidence and testimony led him to conclude that an Adams County prosecutor “totally failed” to prove Clinton’s guilt.

Commission members called Adrian’s justification “a subterfuge.” Instead, they concluded, the judge “intentionally circumvented the law to satisfy his personal belief as to what constituted a just sentence, resulting in his reversal of a criminal defendant’s conviction.”

The commission also sided with the Illinois Judicial Inquiry Board, which investigates grievances against sitting judges, in saying that Adrian lied about his motives during sworn testimony as part of the Inquiry Board’s investigation, and of improperly ejecting from his courtroom a prosecutor who “liked” a social media post critical of Adrian.

“The nature and extent of this misconduct is egregious,” the commission wrote in its decision, and his “intentional, dishonest, and extensive misconduct demonstrates (his) utter disregard for the truth, the judiciary and our justice system.” […]

Adrian blamed his removal on a “two-tiered justice system for conservative Republicans in Illinois,” repeating previous claims he made that he was being targeted because he’s “a known Christian conservative.”


* Former judge Adrian also sat down with Muddy River News

Even after his removal as Eighth Circuit judge by the Illinois Courts Commission on Friday, Robert Adrian maintained his innocence in an interview late Friday afternoon with Muddy River News and called the ruling a “total political hit job.” […]

“It’s totally wrong. Totally made up. It sounds to me like it didn’t matter what I did. They were going to find I did something wrong. But the fact is, they never really ever talked about the evidence in the case, which was in fact that (Clinton) was not guilty. Clinton was not guilty. That’s the point. They never addressed that, even though we presented it to them. It was like they didn’t listen.”

* Back to the Illinois Courts Commission ruling

Respondent contends he reversed his guilty finding not to circumvent the law, but because the State had failed to prove Clinton guilty of the charges. For all the reasons that follow, we find the Board has proven by clear and convincing evidence that respondent reversed his guilty finding to intentionally circumvent the mandatory prison term he was required to impose upon Clinton after his conviction of criminal sexual assault, and respondent thereby violated Rule 61, Canon 1; Rule 62, Canon 2(A); and Rule 63, Canon 3(A)(1). […]

Respondent admitted that he was interested in whether plea negotiations had taken place because if the State and [defense attorney Andrew Schnack] reached an agreed disposition, then he would not have to admit that his guilty finding was a mistake. Respondent also admitted that he considered sentencing Clinton to probation so he would not have to admit that he had mistakenly found Clinton guilty. While noting the repugnance of this admission, which we discuss further in this Order, we fail to see how sentencing Clinton to probation or Clinton pleading to a lesser offense would have absolved respondent from having to admit his purported mistake – he would still be finding Clinton guilty of some offense in any event. In fact, either situation would have created a more flagrant ethical breach because Clinton would have been sentenced for a crime he did not commit (according to respondent). We also note the inconsistency in respondent’s position: respondent stated multiple times that he did not conclude he made a mistake until after he heard the arguments on the post-trial motions. We cannot reconcile respondent’s alleged desire to conceal his “mistake” when he had not yet concluded he had even made one. Indeed, we are convinced by [Adams County State’s Attorney Gary Farha’s] testimony that respondent was actually considering a sentence of probation and was interested in plea negotiations not because he thought Clinton was not guilty, but because he believed probation was a more appropriate sentence for the offense he had found Clinton guilty of than a mandatory four-year prison term.

* It was pretty clear to the Commission that Adrian was lying about multiple things. Here’s one example

Once the post-trial motions were filed, respondent gave “serious consideration” to the case by reviewing his notes and thinking about the evidence. Although respondent testified that he reviewed his notes after the post-trial motions were filed, he also testified that he did not specifically recall taking notes during the trial. He did not order a transcript of the trial proceedings.


* And then there’s this

We also feel compelled to comment on respondent’s statement on January 3, 2022 that “these things happen” when teenagers engage in underage drinking and “coeds and female people” swim in their underwear. These types of comments, coupled with the fact that respondent reversed himself, could give the impression to the public that respondent did not believe Clinton deserved to go to prison for sexual assault because the [16-year-old] female victim was voluntarily intoxicated and swam in her underwear.

There’s so much more, so go read the whole thing, especially if you’re Attorney General Kwame Raoul, who could intervene here and try to stop Adrian from receiving a pension.

* One more Courts Commission excerpt

Further aggravating is the fact that some of respondent’s misconduct occurred on the bench, while he was acting in his official capacity as judge. First, respondent refused to follow the mandatory sentencing law in the Clinton case and did so from the bench. Second, respondent 30 violated the Code when he retaliated against Jones in open court. While his deceptive testimony before the Board and this Commission did not occur on the bench, it was false, and it was an extension of his prior misconduct as it was a cover-up of his refusal to follow the law. But regardless, all witnesses under oath are expected to testify with honesty and candor; judges are no exception. Respondent represents the judiciary at all times, not simply while performing his official duties in court.

It’s probable that the state would need a criminal conviction to yank his pension, but maybe Raoul could indict Adrian in Cook County for giving “false” testimony under oath to the Illinois Courts Commission.

Just sayin.

Your thoughts?


  1. - Demoralized - Monday, Feb 26, 24 @ 8:33 am:

    ==he was being targeted because he’s “a known Christian conservative.”==

    Do “Christian conservatives” believe that a 16 year old deserved to be raped because she swam in her underwear? Because that’s the conclusion this judge made.

    This is par for the course for conservatives in general. Forever playing the victim.

  2. - H-W - Monday, Feb 26, 24 @ 8:33 am:

    On so many levels, yes - AG Raoul should prosecute this former Judge. Of the things that he cannot be prosecuted for, suggesting boys and men have a right to sexually assault a girl or women if she is half clothed is just plain evil. If a women is completely naked, no man nor boy has a right. Just an evil thought.

    But fabricating his stories and explicitly acknowledging he failed to do his job should be enough to punish this former judge who claims he is being persecuted for being a Christian. He is not. On both levels, he is not being persecuted, and he is not a Christian.

  3. - Demoralized - Monday, Feb 26, 24 @ 8:35 am:

    And to the question - yes, he should have his pension taken away. He lied under oath and disregarded a law because he didn’t like the law and thought he had a right to ignore a law he didn’t like. He’s a disgrace and should be punished for it.

    I also laughed out loud a bit when he said he was just going to “retire.” I think that decision was made for you bub.

  4. - DuPage Saint - Monday, Feb 26, 24 @ 8:36 am:

    He should not be able to receive his pension. As the court commission said his misconduct was directly related to his job and to me that is enough. And that goes for Burke and any other politician. But what happened to pension of other three judges?

  5. - Chicagonk - Monday, Feb 26, 24 @ 8:47 am:

    My view is that pensions should only be removed in very rare circumstances.

  6. - I-72 Blues - Monday, Feb 26, 24 @ 8:50 am:

    Tne new poster child for judges having a God complex.

  7. - Roadrager - Monday, Feb 26, 24 @ 8:52 am:

    “Judge Robert Adrian rights the wrongs of a rigged system on ‘Cancel Court,’ streaming this fall exclusively on Fox Nation.”

    ==repeating previous claims he made that he was being targeted because he’s “a known Christian conservative.”==

    Good, morally upstanding Christians know when the teenage girl is just asking for it dressed like that and act accordingly.

  8. - Juvenal - Monday, Feb 26, 24 @ 8:55 am:

    From police misconduct to bribery on up, the state should file felony charges where applicable and only agree to a lesser charge if the defendant agrees to surrender their pension.

    that surely applies in this case.

  9. - Suburban Mom - Monday, Feb 26, 24 @ 9:10 am:

    === he’s “a known Christian conservative.”===

    Rarely have I seen a “saying the quiet part loud” example as flagrant as a judge saying the sexual assault of a teenaged girl isn’t a big deal while pointing to Christianity to justify it.

  10. - Sir Reel - Monday, Feb 26, 24 @ 9:21 am:

    No admission of guilt. Saying it was a “political hit job.”

    He should lose his pension. Keeping it adds to the public’s declining opinion of elected officials and government.

  11. - Red Ketcher - Monday, Feb 26, 24 @ 9:45 am:

    “just the fourth judge in Illinois history”

    Think ” fourth ” is incorrect. Think he’s “ninth”
    since 1970 , if counted right.

  12. - Amalia - Monday, Feb 26, 24 @ 9:47 am:

    Rich hits it, there is a difference between administrative and criminal. while I wish for all sorts of hell to rain down on this evil man I think we need more to get the pension gone.

  13. - OccasionalCommenter - Monday, Feb 26, 24 @ 9:48 am:

    In his interview with the MRN Editor, Adrian stopped short of actually calling the victim a liar, but any reasonable person reading the interview knows that is exactly what he meant. Defaming victims of sexual assault is not good for one’s pocketbook. Maybe the good (former) judge will lose his pension by other means.

    “ … I guess maybe I should have sat there in court and called her a liar and said, “Hey, your story doesn’t add up.” This is why and this is why. I guess I could have done that.

    DA: When you say “her,” you’re talking about Cameron (Vaughn, who testified against Clinton). Correct?

    RA: Yeah.

    DA: OK, I just wanted to make that clear.

    RA: I didn’t want want to sit there and call her a liar. I guess I could have. I’m not that type of person.”

  14. - Save Ferris - Monday, Feb 26, 24 @ 9:50 am:

    Question: I did a quick read of the Clinton trial so if I missed this, my bad. But was this a bench trial or a jury trial? Did Adrian overturn a jury? Appears the answer is that there was no jury.

  15. - Shevek - Monday, Feb 26, 24 @ 10:03 am:

    From the Illinois Pension Code: “None of the benefits herein provided shall be paid to any person who is convicted of any felony relating to or arising out of or in connection with his or her service as a judge.” 40 ILCS 5/18-163.

    A conviction for perjury, which is a much higher burden of proof than the clear and convincing standard used by the Commission, is, from my understanding, very difficult to prove. But it is a class 3 felony. Perhaps official misconduct, another class 3 felony could be easier to prosecute. That requires proving that a government official “[i]ntentionally or recklessly fails to perform any mandatory duty as required by law.”

    I think Kwame should attempt to prosecute for one or both of these offenses and then he’d be stripped of his pension.

  16. - Homebody - Monday, Feb 26, 24 @ 10:04 am:

    @Demoralized: == Do “Christian conservatives” believe that a 16 year old deserved to be raped because she swam in her underwear? ==

    Yes. They do. They’ve been shouting this sort of thing from the rooftops for decades, but people pretend not to listen. The right wing has never been shy about how much they love victim blaming.

  17. - Mr. Middleground - Monday, Feb 26, 24 @ 10:22 am:

    Glad he is off the bench. Interestingly, he was retained after all of this occurred and was highly publicized.

    Regarding the pension, I probably need help understanding this. Is this not something he paid into over the years? Would he get back all the contributions with interest that were made? What about the state “match”. If he were in the defined contribution plan, could that be taken as well? I’m just trying to understand an issue I know little about.

  18. - JoeMaddon - Monday, Feb 26, 24 @ 10:29 am:

    **But was this a bench trial or a jury trial? Did Adrian overturn a jury?**

    It was a bench trial… Adrian overturned himself.

  19. - Huh? - Monday, Feb 26, 24 @ 10:41 am:

    At IDOT, if you are fired for cause, you lose your pension. There does not need to be a criminal conviction.

    This guy was removed from the bench for cause. So yes, he ought to lose his pension.

  20. - Politix - Monday, Feb 26, 24 @ 11:21 am:

    Take away his pension and give it to the victim for a bit of restoration.

  21. - Mr. Middleground - Monday, Feb 26, 24 @ 11:49 am:

    ==At IDOT, if you are fired for cause, you lose your pension.==

    I was really surprised by this, so I asked around. This is not true. If it is vested, it is earned. Being fired, does not strip you of your pension.

  22. - Jocko - Monday, Feb 26, 24 @ 11:55 am:

    I don’t see the harm in having AG Raoul bringing the judge up on charges…THEN stripping his pension.

    As far as his being a known Christian conservative. I recall coming across a passage (or two) discouraging the practice of bearing false witness.

  23. - DuPage - Monday, Feb 26, 24 @ 11:57 am:

    @- Huh? - Monday, Feb 26, 24 @ 10:41 am:

    ===At IDOT, if you are fired for cause, you lose your pension. There does not need to be a criminal conviction.===

    That sounds like it is against the law. Do you know which “for cause” actions result in this? They oversleep and are late for work once too often? What exactly would cause an IDOT employee to lose their pension for being fired?

  24. - May soon be required - Monday, Feb 26, 24 @ 12:31 pm:

    ==At IDOT, if you are fired for cause, you lose your pension. There does not need to be a criminal conviction.==

    No, that statement is 100% untrue. Many employees throughout state and local government think it is true and it is often difficult to convince them otherwise.

  25. - May soon be required - Monday, Feb 26, 24 @ 12:32 pm:

    Only felony conviction related to employment will result in loss of the pension.

  26. - Retired SURS Employee - Monday, Feb 26, 24 @ 12:34 pm:

    As someone who has dealt with this issue on many occasions, the Judge’s pension can be taken away only after conviction on a job-related felony. Same is true for IDOT workers.

  27. - Stones - Monday, Feb 26, 24 @ 1:15 pm:

    My understanding is that you lose the pension if terminated for misconduct, otherwise no.

  28. - Dano - Monday, Feb 26, 24 @ 1:18 pm:

    A lot of uninformed/misinformed people on here. Including the writer of the article. Public lynching is alive and well in America. Just a different set of people doing it.

  29. - Rich Miller - Monday, Feb 26, 24 @ 1:24 pm:

    ===Public lynching===


  30. - Davison - Monday, Feb 26, 24 @ 2:44 pm:

    By all means yes, go after judges for being too lenient on criminal defendants. Start at 26th and California.

  31. - quincy girl - Monday, Feb 26, 24 @ 3:51 pm:

    I don’t believe his pension should be taken away, he has a wonderful history in Adams County being a judge and has been a respectful one at that. There has to be a reason he changed his mind -possibly evidence came forward or people came forward after the fact that he doesn’t have to say with it being a bench trial

  32. - Rich Miller - Monday, Feb 26, 24 @ 3:53 pm:

    ===There has to be a reason he changed his mind===

    Yeah. It’s in the report.

  33. - Candy Dogood - Monday, Feb 26, 24 @ 4:13 pm:

    There’s been a lot of wrong doing over the last few decades that’s resulted in little more than a slap on the wrist.

    The AG should explore the idea of disqualifying this person who would enable the sexual assault of a child of their pension.

  34. - Cheswick - Monday, Feb 26, 24 @ 4:13 pm:

    =At IDOT, if you are fired for cause, you lose your pension.==

    That’s what management would like you to believe.

  35. - Ann Butler - Tuesday, Feb 27, 24 @ 1:22 pm:

    I don’t think his pension should be taken away. This is the first case that the state believes he did wrong. I believe there was more to the case.

  36. - Tinman - Thursday, Feb 29, 24 @ 8:10 am:

    Has to be convicted of a felony arising from his job.

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