Superior Court Judge James Troiano in New Jersey came under fire for denying a request for a defendant to be tried as an adult, stating that a teenager accused of rape deserves leniency because he “came from a good family” and “he is clearly a candidate for not just college but probably for a good college.” “Prosecutors,” the judge said, “should have explained to the girl and her family that pressing charges would destroy the boy’s life.” According to prosecutors, the 16-year-old defendant recorded himself sexually assaulting a visibly intoxicated teenage girl at a party—and days later, sent the recording to several friends stating “When your first time having sex was rape.” The judge’s ruling was over turned by an appeals court with forceful admonishment, clearing the way for the case to be moved to a grand jury for consideration of the charges. If the teen is indicted, he will be tried as an adult.
In an update, New Jersey’s Supreme Court has terminated Judge Troiano’s temporary assignment on the bench and the judge has officially resigned. NJ Superior Court Judge John Russo Jr. is facing similar disciplinary action for asking a woman during a 2016 hearing for a restraining order against a man who sexually assaulted her if she could have “closed her legs” to prevent the sexual assault and was later taped joking about the exchange with court staff.
And - now you can add a female judge to the list of alleged violators. Superior Court Judge Marcia Silva (Middlesex County, NJ) rejected trying another 16-year-old sexual assault defendant as an adult, finding that the defendant’s alleged rape of a 12-year-old girl was not “especially heinous or cruel.” Her ruling was also over turned with admonishment and she is facing possible disciplinary action.
In a rare but laudable move, the Chief Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court has issued (as of July 17) a state wide directive to all Superior Court judges, Tax Court judges, Appellate Division judges, and Supreme Court justices, requiring a mandatory recess “for the purpose of conducting a mandatory full-day educational conference focusing on sexual assault, domestic violence, implicit bias and diversity.” The directive goes on to require regular follow up, including local training sessions, judiciary staff training, an online training portal allowing the public to provide anonymous feedback on their court experiences, and ongoing assessment of performance.
This order for mandatory education should be implemented across the country to all courts to #educatejudges regarding #MeToo and #changetheculture, because #Time’sUp on tolerating#abuse and #workplacesexualharassment.
For more, please read our new book Play Nice - Playground Rules for Respect in the Workplace and our website www.thesandboxseries.com