An Illinois judge kicked a prosecutor out of court for liking a Facebook post that criticized his overturning of a rape conviction

A gavel strikes in front of the Illinois state flag
The judge ordered the attorney out of the court, saying he couldn’t be ‘fair’ to him after he liked a Facebook post criticizing the judge. Baris-Ozer/Getty Images
  • An Illinois judge confronted a lead attorney on Wednesday for liking a Facebook post critical of a decision he made.
  • Judge Robert Adrian is under fire for overturning his guilty verdict of a teen accused of rape.
  • The attorney liked a post blasting Adrian’s decision, prompting Adrian to order him out of court.

A judge in western Illinois ordered a prosecutor out of court on Wednesday, reportedly after the attorney liked a Facebook post that criticized him for throwing out a sexual assault conviction.

Adams County Judge Robert Adrian is under fire for reversing his guilty verdict in the case of an 18-year-0ld man accused of raping a 16-year-old girl. The judge found the man guilty in October for the assault, which prosecutors said involved the man stuffing a pillow into the girl’s face while raping her at a graduation party in May.

But Adrian said on January 3 that the 148 days spent by the accused in county jail was “plenty of punishment,” according to court documents seen by Insider. He shifted to a not guilty ruling to avoid detaining the accused for any longer, as the state’s mandatory minimum sentence for sexual assault is four years.

Josh Jones, the lead attorney for the county’s State Attorney’s office, then liked a Facebook post made on Tuesday by a non-profit group that panned his decision, David Adam from local paper Muddy River News reported.

“The verdict and Adrian’s comments send a chilling message to other rape victims that their behavior, not the rapists’, will be judged,” the post reads. “Shame the victims, free the rapists.”

On Wednesday, Adrian and Jones were in court for status hearings of felony cases when the judge confronted Jones, according to Muddy River News.

“Mr. Jones, get out,” Adrian said.

When Jones didn’t respond, Adrian continued: “I’m not on social media, but my wife is. She saw the thumbs-up you gave to people attacking me.”

“I can’t be fair with you today. Get out.”

Jones then quietly walked out of the room, with what Muddy River News described as a quizzical look.

Jones confirmed with the outlet that he had liked the post.

“I’d like to think that’s a pretty benign position to take as the lead trial attorney with the state’s attorney’s office to support the rights of victims,” he said. “We obviously have to and want to support victims in all cases.”

“I have not made any comment publicly, privately or otherwise about Judge Adrian and the decision,” he continued. “I’m not going to. That’s not my role.”

The county’s State Attorney Gary Farha said he was “mystified” by Adrian’s sudden flare-up against Jones, the Quincy Herald-Whig reported.

“We’ve never had a problem with Judge Adrian,” Farha told the outlet. “We have understood and appreciated his cooperation. He’s always been congenial with things.”