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New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal. (Photo: Nikita Biryukov for the New Jersey Globe)

Grewal leaving Troiano, Silva discipline to judiciary

Attorney general calls judges’ comments ‘appalling,’ ‘disturbing’

By Nikita Biryukov, July 16 2019 2:12 pm

State Attorney General Gurbir Grewal is steering clear of calls for the removal of two judges who have come under fire for comments they made during sexual assault proceedings.

“As far as discipline, our prosecutors are in court every day before judges. The discipline is left to the [Administrative Office of the Courts], so I would defer to them, and to the Supreme Court and Justice Rabner, to handle it appropriately, because that’s their area, so they need to do what they think is appropriate,” Grewal said. “It would be inappropriate for me to comment.”

Judge James Troiano refused to try as an adult a 16-year-old boy accused of raping 16-year-old girl and sending a videotape of the assault to his friends as an adult over worries that doing so would imperil the alleged rapist’s future.

Judge Marcia Silva refused to try a 16-year-old boy accused of sexually assaulting a 12-year-old girl as an adult, ruling that the victim suffered no emotional, mental or physical harm past the loss of her virginity.

Grewal had nothing positive to say about the comments themselves.

“I found the comments to be appalling and disturbing,” Grewal said. “I’m working too hard at the attorney general’s office, along with law enforcement across the state, to move to a victim-centered and a trauma-informed approach to dealing with victims of sexual assault … and those kinds of comments make it difficult for victims to come forward, so I hope the AOC and the Judiciary will take appropriate steps to really bring their training up to a level of training we’re giving to law enforcement and to prosecutors.”

Gov. Phil Murphy also stopped short of calling for the judges’ removal, but by Tuesday, 19 members of the legislature had called for the judges to be thrown from the bench.

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