- James Troiano, who served as a family court judge in New Jersey, resigned from the bench after showing leniency to a 16-year-old boy accused of rape in a 2018 ruling, because he comes from a “good family.”
- The case involved the teen, who was referred to as G.M.C. in court documents.
- Prosecutors alleged that the teen filmed himself while he sexually assaulted a 16-year-old girl, referred to under the pseudonym Mary, and sent out the video to his friends in a text reading, “When your first time having sex was rape.”
- New Jersey’s appellate court disagreed with Troiano’s ruling and reversed it in a 14-page decision filed in June, which determined that G.M.C. can be tried as an adult as the case was transferred to a grand jury.
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A family court judge in New Jersey resigned from the bench on Wednesday, following his controversial decision in 2018 to show leniency to a 16-year-old boy accused of rape, because he comes from a “good family.”
James Troiano, who previously served as a judge on the state’s Superior Court, faced public criticism after denying prosecutors’ motion in a 2018 ruling to try the teen, who was referred to as G.M.C. in court documents, as an adult. Prosecutors allege he filmed himself sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl and sent out the video to his friends in a text reading, “When your first time having sex was rape.”
“This young man comes from a good family who put him into an excellent school where he was doing extremely well,” the judge said during last year’s court case. “He is clearly a candidate for not just college but probably a good college. His scores for college entry were very high.”
Troiano made note of G.M.C. being an Eagle Scout and believed that prosecutors should have explained to the teen girl, referred to in documents under the pseudonym Mary, and her mother how pressing charges against G.M.C. could ruin his life.
He went further to defend his position, describing, in his opinion, that there is a distinction between “a sexual assault and a rape.”
“There have been some, not many, but some cases of sexual assault involving juveniles, which in my mind absolutely were the traditional case of rape,” he wrote. The judge defines “traditional” rape as “two or more generally males involved, either at gunpoint or weapon, clearly manhandling a person … an area where … there was nobody around, sometime in an abandon[ed] house, sometimes in an abandon[ed] shed, shack, and just simply taking advantage of the person as well as beating the person, threatening the person.”
New Jersey’s appellate court disagreed with Troiano’s ruling and reversed it in a 14-page decision filed in June, which determined that G.M.C. can be tried as an adult as the case was transferred to a grand jury.
“That the juvenile came from a good family and had good test scores we assume would not condemn the juveniles who do not come from good families and do not have good test scores from withstanding waiver applications,” the panel wrote in its decision.
According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Troiano officially retired back in 2012, but remained on the bench as a “recall judge” to fill vacancies.
The New Jersey Supreme Court announced new efforts Wednesday to improve training for judges in the areas of sexual assault, domestic violence, implicit bias and diversity, the New York Times reported.
“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 to The Times.
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