Judge Resigns After Saying Teenager in Sexual Assault Case Was From ‘Good Family’

The New Jersey judge who sparked nationwide backlash by recommending leniency for a 16-year-old boy accused of sexual assault because the boy was from a “good family” has resigned from the bench, officials said on Wednesday.
The comments by the judge, James Troiano, which were made in a 2018 ruling, were seen by advocates for sexual assault victims as emblematic of a legal system that is mired in bias and privilege, and has deterred victims from reporting assaults.
Shortly after the comments became public in early July, elected officials called for the judge’s resignation, petitions circulated for his disbarment and a protest was held outside the Monmouth County courthouse where the judge had made the ruling. Judge Troiano and his family even received threats of violence.
On Wednesday, the chief justice of the Supreme Court of New Jersey said Judge Troiano, who had retired in late 2012, but continued to hear cases on a part-time basis, requested to step down. The court acceded and terminated his services effective immediately.
Also on Wednesday, the state Supreme Court ordered a new initiative to improve the training of judges in the areas of sexual assault, domestic violence, implicit bias and diversity.
“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.
Judge Troiano, a longtime family court judge, made the comments in 2018 when deciding whether to try the accused teenager as an adult. Prosecutors had said the teenager sexually assaulted a visibly intoxicated 16-year-old girl at a party and recorded the act, sending the video to his friends, along with a text that said, “When your first time is rape.”
Judge Troiano decided the boy should not be tried as an adult, but an appeals court sharply rebuked and overturned his decision in June.
The appeals court warned Judge Troiano, 69, against showing bias toward affluent teenagers and said “the judge decided the case for himself.” Family court cases are typically confidential, but some of Judge Troiano’s comments became public in the appeals court’s 14-page ruling.
In making his decision last year, Judge Troiano appeared to question the girl’s level of intoxication, cited the boy’s good grades and college prospects and drew distinctions between sexual assault and the “traditional case of rape” at gunpoint.
In a two-hour decision, Judge Troiano questioned aloud whether prosecutors had adequately explained to the girl and her family that pressing charges would destroy the boy’s life.
“He is clearly a candidate for not just college but probably for a good college,” the judge said.
He added: “This young man comes from a good family who put him into an excellent school where he was doing extremely well. His scores for college entry were very high.”
Judge Troiano retired in December 2012, but continued to work three days a week as a “recall” judge, occasionally filling in to help ease a backlog of court cases. There are currently 63 judges on recall in state Superior Court.
Judge Resigns After Saying Teenager in Sexual Assault Case Was From ‘Good Family’ Judge Resigns After Saying Teenager in Sexual Assault Case Was From ‘Good Family’ Reviewed by STATION GOSSIP on 01:57 Rating: 5

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