New Jersey’s high court took action Wednesday when it terminated the temporary assignment of a judge who declined to order a 16-year-old rape suspect tried in adult court because the boy came “from a good family,” according to The New York Times.
At issue was whether the suspect should face serious consequences over a video recording appearing to depict an assault on an intoxicated teenager.
According to an appeals court decision last month, State Superior Court Judge James Troiano wrote that the “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. His scores for college entry were very high.”
The 16-year-old boy, identified only as G.M.C. in court documents, allegedly raped a “visibly intoxicated” 16-year-old girl, pseudonym “Mary,” while the two were drunk at a pajama party in New Jersey, prosecutors said. The boy is accused of filming himself and sending the video out to friends for months afterward.
“When your first time having sex is rape,” G.M.C. allegedly texted friends with the video days after the party. Several of the friends told investigators Mary’s body was drooping during the assault, at least one adding that her head was also banging against the wall, The Hill reported. It was not clear in court documents where in New Jersey the alleged assault took place.
Troiano is retired but had been recalled to serve in Monmouth County.
The Troiano case prompted strong criticism in recent weeks after the comments came to light. His decision was reversed by appeals courts.
Numerous public officials called for Troiano to be removed from the bench.
The Times reported that the state Supreme Court ordered a new initiative to improve the training of judges.
“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, the news outlet reported.
Gov. Philip D. Murphy, The Times reported, released a statement “that Judge Troiano will no longer sit on the bench,” saying his “inexcusable” comments “have threatened this reputation for thoughtful and reasoned opinion and common decency.”