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2 NJ Judges Are Out After Controversial Rape Comments

One has stepped down, another has been suspended
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 18, 2019 3:40 AM CDT
New Jersey is launching an annual training program for judges.   (Getty Images/Zolnierek)

(Newser) – New Jersey's Supreme Court has dealt with two judges amid widespread outrage over remarks they made while overseeing rape cases. The court said Wednesday that it is ending the service of Monmouth County Superior Court Judge James Troiano at his request, NJ.com reports. Protesters called for Troiano's removal after he argued that a 16-year-old accused of rape should not be tried as an adult because he comes from a "good family." An appellate court reversed his decision last month and rebuked him for his remarks. The state Supreme Court also announced Wednesday that Ocean County Superior Court Judge John Russo Jr., who asked a victim if she had closed her legs to avoid being raped, is being suspended without pay effective immediately; proceedings to remove him have begun.

The state's top court also announced a new program to further train judges in areas including sexual assault and domestic violence, the New York Times reports. Courts are expected to recess in the next 90 days for the first annual full-day training session to help judges deliver decisions that are "rooted in the law, respectful of victims, and understandable to the public while protecting the rights of the accused," a court spokesman said. NJ Gov. Philip Murphy praised the court's actions. "Unfortunately, the inexcusable actions of several judges over recent months have threatened this reputation for thoughtful and reasoned opinion, and common decency," he said. "I am gratified that Judge Troiano will no longer sit on the bench and that removal proceedings will begin against Judge Russo." (Read more New Jersey stories.)

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