QUINCY, Illinois. A judge in western Illinois who found an 18-year-old man guilty of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl was criticized after he later overturned the conviction, saying the 148 days a man spent in jail was sufficient punishment.
The prosecutor in the case said her “heart is bleeding from the victim,” and an organization that helps victims of domestic violence and sexual assault said the decision of Adams County Judge Robert Adrian sent a “chilling message to other rape victims that their behavior, it is not rapists who will be tried, ”the (Quincy) Herald-Whig reported.
On Wednesday, Adrian, apparently enraged by the criticism, told another prosecutor who appeared before him in another case to leave the courtroom because the prosecutor “liked” a Facebook comment criticizing the judge.
“I can’t be honest with you,” Adrian told the Adams County attorney, according to the Herald-Wig. “Get out.”
The uproar stems from a case that began with the arrest of Drew Clinton after his May 30 prom.
During the trial, the judge heard evidence that the girl told police that she attended a party where she drank alcohol and swam in a pool in her underwear before eventually passing out. She said that she woke up with a pillow on her face and Clinton raped her.
According to the police report, the teen was able to push Clinton away from her and then told a friend about the incident. She later told her father about this, who called the police.
In October, Adrian found Clinton guilty of a sexual felony, but during a January 3 sentencing hearing, he said he would not impose the mandatory minimum sentence of four years in prison.
“Mr. Clinton has been in county jail for almost five months, 148 days,” Adrian said, according to a court transcript posted online by local media. “.
“Impossible,” the judge explained, “because of what happened in this case, this teenager shouldn’t have gone to the Department of Corrections. I will not do it.”
But the judge said that if he ruled that the sentencing law he had to follow was unconstitutional, his decision would be overturned and Clinton would be sentenced to prison. To avoid an appeal that he believes will be successful, Adrian said he can determine that the prosecutor’s office has not “proven its position” and drop the sexual assault charge.
Prosecutor for the case, Anita Rodriguez, said she had never seen anything like Adrian’s ruling in her 40-year career and worried about how that decision might affect the victim. The trial “did a lot for the process of her recovery, but now she is back to where we were.”
The Quincy District Network Against Domestic Violence said the decision sent a dangerous message.
“The decision confirms the fact that standards for women have always been incredibly high and for men incredibly low,” the group said in a statement.
But Clinton’s lawyer Drew Schnack said the final verdict was correct because the prosecution failed to prove its case and the evidence was not strong enough to justify a conviction.