Gov. Phil Murphy said he’s glad Judge James Troiano is leaving the bench and applauds the New Jersey Supreme Court’s decision to begin a process to remove Judge John Russo from office.
“New Jersey’s judiciary has long been held up by observers across the nation as a model for other states,” Murphy said. “Unfortunately, the inexcusable actions of several judges over recent months have threatened this reputation for thoughtful and reasoned opinion, and common decency.”
Murphy said that he was “gratified that Judge Troiano will no longer sit on the bench and that removal proceedings will begin against Judge Russo.”
“I am pleased with the swift action taken by the Courts to uphold the reputation of our judiciary and ensure that all who seek justice are treated with dignity and respect,” Murphy said.
In April, Murphy stopped short of calling for Russo’s resignation for comments he made asking an alleged rape victim if she attempted to close her legs to fend off her attacker but stopped short of calling for the embattled judge’s resignation Monday.
“The courts are, as they should be, independently administered, so I have to respect that,” Murphy said. “But I found what he said was completely abhorrent — completely out of line.”
Murphy also declined to call for the resignations of Troiano and Judge Marcia Silva for their handling of sexual assault cases involving minors.
Troiano refused to try 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. In his decision, Troiano said he worried that doing so would imperil the alleged rapist’s future.
An appellate panel have overturned Troiano’s decision, as well as one made by Judge Marcia Silva.
Silva refused to try a 16-year-old boy accused of sexually assaulting a 12-year-old girl, ruling that the victim suffered no emotional, mental or physical harm past the loss of her virginity.