Judge Is Fired After Arguing Accused Rapist "Comes From A Good Family"

Photo: Witthaya Prasongsin/Getty Images.
After weeks of protest, New Jersey’s Supreme Court has terminated the temporary assignment of Judge James Troianoeffective immediately” after he declined to try a teen suspected of rape in adult court because he came “from a good family.”
In his July 2018 decision, Troiano said: "This young man comes from a good family, who put him into an excellent school where he was doing extremely well. He is clearly a candidate for not just college, but probably for a good college.”
The 16-year-old suspect, referred to as “G.M.C.” in court documents, was accused of sexually assaulting a visibly intoxicated 16-year-old girl, referred to as “Mary,” at a house party. The teen allegedly used his phone to film the assault and shared the video with several friends with a text saying, "When your first time having sex was rape." During the case, Troiano also wondered whether the alleged assault could be considered rape since there weren’t multiple perpetrators or weapons present. Troiano, 69, is retired, but he had been called in to serve on the case involving “G.M.C.” and “Mary.”
Troiano’s decision was reversed by appeals courts, as was another involving state Superior Court Judge Marcia Silva, who declined to try a 16-year-old accused rapist’s case in adult court, calling the alleged sexual assault of a 12-year-old girl "not an especially heinous or cruel offense." New Jersey lawmakers have called for the judge’s removal, but she remains on the bench as of the time of this reporting.
The rulings fit into a continuing trend of high-profile sexual assault cases in which the defendants, usually young men such as Brock Turner and Jacob Walter Anderson, have been shown more sympathy than their alleged victims and, in certain instances, have received extremely lenient sentences. Last year, Californians voted to recall Judge Aaron Persky, who presided over the Brock Turner case in 2016.
Also on Wednesday, State Supreme Court Chief Justice Stuart Rabner recommended the removal of New Jersey Superior Court Judge John Russo Jr., who during a 2016 hearing asked a woman who claimed she had been raped if she could have prevented the sexual assault by closing her legs. Russo later joked about the comment with court personnel.
In a statement provided to Refinery29, Judge Glenn A. Grant, acting administrative director of the New Jersey Courts, said the Supreme Court is establishing a program that intends to enhance training for judges "in the areas of sexual assault, domestic violence, implicit bias, and diversity." Within the next 90 days, Chief Justice Rabner will recess the courts in order to conduct a mandatory full-day training session.
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