Assemblywoman Yvonne Lopez added her name to a growing list of legislators calling for the removal of two judges who have come under fire for comments they made during sexual assault trials.
“Without question, Judge Silva and Judge Troiano must be removed from the bench immediately. How a moral, rational person — let alone a judge — could conclude that an alleged sexual assault of a child was ‘not especially heinous or cruel’ or dismiss the behavior because the assailant ‘comes from a good family’ is simply beyond comprehension.
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 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.
“Despite the clear facts and evidence in both cases, Silva and Troiano chose to essentially side with the offenders,” Lopez said. “There’s no place for such gross mishandling of cases in New Jersey. These judges must be held accountable for their inexcusable actions.”
Since New Jersey 101.5 first reported on the appellate court’s decisions to overturn Troiano and Silva’s rulings last week, numerous lawmakers have called for Troiano and Silva to resign or be removed via the legislature.
In New Jersey, the legislature can remove judges through impeachment. The Assembly must first vote to impeach, then the Senate will hold a trial into the matter.
The state Supreme Court can also remove judges.
So far, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle — including Senate President Steve Sweeney, State Sens. Declan O’Scanlon, Kristin Corrado, Bob Smith, Linda Greenstein, Patrick Diegnan and Vin Gopal, among others.
Gov. Phil Murphy stopped short of calling for the judges’ resignation but said he was “extremely troubled” by their comments.
Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin, Lopez’s running mate, has yet to comment on the issue.