The New Jersey Courts today ordered additional training for judges in the areas of sexual assault and domestic violence in response to comments made by three Superior Court Judges handling unrelated rape cases, two of them involving minors.
Within the next 90 days, the courts will hold a mandatory, full-day education conference focusing on sexual assault, domestic violence, implicit bias and diversity, according to Glenn A. Grant, the acting administrative director of the New Jersey Courts.
“These statewide education conferences will serve to enhance understanding of the complexities and nuances associated with sexual assault, sex offenses, and domestic violence matters and to raise awareness of the impact of implicit bias on decision-making, while providing skills for judges to recognize and respond.to their preconceptions,” Grant said in a directive issued today. “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.”
Members of the New Jersey Supreme Court will also be required to attend the training session, Grant said, along with judges of the Superior Court, Tax Court and Appellate Division. The order also applies to retired judges on recall status.
Grant said that within the next six months, and annually after that, each vicinage will be required to hold local training sessions for judges “to ensure that local court environments reflect and support our Judiciary-wide values.” This will be mandatory for all judges and their staffs.
“Judicial education in New Jersey is extensive, purposeful, and continuously refined based on changes in law and the evolving needs of our bench and society,” Grant said.
State Sen. Kristin Corrado (R-Totowa), who introduced legislation to require this training, commended the judiciary “for taking seriously the concerns that many of us have raised regarding the abhorrent treatment of sexual assault victims in our state’s courtrooms.”
“These are good first steps that will begin the process of restoring the confidence of survivors to seek the justice they deserve through our courts,” Corrado said.Glenn Grant July 17