Judge who said accused teen rapist came from 'good family' resigns
A New Jersey judge who argued for leniency for a 16-year-old accused of rape because he “came from a good family” has resigned, according to the New York Times.
While Monmouth County Superior Court Judge James Troiano retired in 2012, he continued to serve on a part-time basis, leading to the 2018 case where he made the comments. Amid uproar over the remark, Troiano requested to step down and the court agreed, effective immediately, according to the Times.
Troiano made the remark in reference to a teen accused of sexually assaulting an intoxicated girl, recording it, sending the recording to friends and captioning it “when your first time is rape.”
Troiano argued the defendant should not be tried as an adult, citing his good grades and contrasting the case with the “traditional case of rape” at gunpoint. An appeals court overturned his decision this June.
The New Jersey Supreme Court also announced Wednesday that it would begin the removal process for another judge, John F. Russo, who had asked a woman whether she tried to avert an alleged sexual assault by closing her legs, according to the Times.
Chief Justice Stuart Rabner cited a report from the Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct finding Russo demonstrated “an absolute disregard for the solemnity that must attend every court proceeding, particularly those involving such serious concerns as domestic violence.”
“Unfortunately, the inexcusable actions of several judges over recent months have threatened this reputation for thoughtful and reasoned opinion, and common decency,” Gov. Phil Murphy (D) said in a statement. “I am gratified that Judge Troiano will no longer sit on the bench and that removal proceedings will begin against Judge Russo.”
The state supreme court also announced it will require new training for judges throughout the court system, according to the Times.
The training will cover subjects such as implicit bias, diversity, domestic violence and sexual assault.
“The programs also will train judges in effective communication skills that will aid them in delivering clear decisions that are rooted in the law, respectful of victims, and understandable to the public while protecting the rights of the accused,” Glenn A. Grant, the acting administrative director of the courts, said in a statement, according to the Times.