Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg today called for the removal of two Superior Court Judges under fire after a state appellate court ruling reversed their decisions and admonished them for their handling of unrelated sexual assault cases.
James Troiano, the 1982 Republican candidate for Essex County Executive and a judge since 1992, refused to try a 16-year-old boy accused a raping a 16-year-old girl and sending a videotape of the assault to his friends as an adult.
Judge Marcia Silva is under fire for refusing a prosecutor’s bid to try a 16-year-old boy as an adult after he was charged with raping a 12-year-old girl. Silva ruled that she was unconvinced of any physical, mental or emotional injuries to the girl other than the loss of her virginity.
“I am glad to see that Judge James Troiano and Judge Marcia Silva were rebuked by the appeals courts, but this is not nearly enough,” said Weinberg. “Their conduct is unacceptable. There is no place for this parochial, dismissive and sexist behavior in our justice system.
Weinberg accused Troiano of being “more concerned with the effect this would have on the perpetrator’s prospects as a good student from a good family with a good future, than he was for the victim, her experience and her pain.
“These comments are appalling and having two cases like this is cause for grave concern in the state of New Jersey,” said Weinberg. The judicial branch should take immediate disciplinary action.”
Weinberg said that Troiano and Silva should be immediately removed from the bench.
“There is no space for judges of this character,” said Weinberg, who called for additional corrective measures and comprehensive training to manage cases of sexual assault for all judges.
The senator noted that “privilege, bias, prejudice and bigotry permeate throughout our society, including the justice system.
“We cannot expect to eradicate it in its entirety, but any example of it displayed by the people in charge of issuing justice in our state should be intolerable,” said Weinberg. “Judge Troiano and Judge Silva should never again be given the privilege of presiding over a New Jersey court, that is clear. But we should also use these examples of alarming behavior in a way that curtails this conduct in the future.”
A New York Times story first shed light on the Troiano and Silva decisions.
In April, Superior Court Judge John Russo was suspended for three months after asking an alleged rape victim if she attempted to close her legs to fend off her attacker.
State Sen. Vin Gopal (D-Long Branch) called for Russo to be removed from the bench.