Another judge rebuked for treatment of sexual assault case

Excerpt from the judge's statement as reported by the New York Times, 7/2/19.

Excerpt from the judge’s statement as reported by the New York Times, 7/2/19.

Judicial treatment of sexual assault cases continues to prompt scrutiny, the latest involving a New Jersey family court judge who argued that prosecutors should have considered the suspect’s college prospects and how charges would affect his life.

The New York Times reports on an appeals court’s rebuke of Monmouth County Judge James Troiano of Superior Court, who denied prosecutors’ motion to try a 16-year-old sexual assault suspect as an adult.

The judge questioned whether the incident was rape, although investigators said the boy shared a cellphone video among friends and sent a text that said, “When your first time having sex was rape.”

“The boy filmed himself penetrating her from behind, her torso exposed, her head hanging down, prosecutors said,” The New York Times reported.

The judge said “the young man came from a good family, attended an excellent school, had terrific grades and was an Eagle Scout,” according to the article.

The appeals court “cleared the way for the case to be moved from family court to a grand jury, where the teenager, identified only as G.M.C. in court documents, will be treated as an adult,” the article explained.

“In recent years, judges across the country have come under fire for the way they have handled sexual abuse cases,” The New York Times reported. “One of the most notorious was in 2016 when a judge in California sentenced a Stanford University student to six months in jail after he was found guilty of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman. After an intense public backlash, California voters recalled the judge. Judge Troiano, who is roughly 70, was one of two family court judges whom appeals courts in New Jersey have criticized in recent weeks over relatively similar issues.”

New protocol dismisses civil rights cases before Education Department

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. Photo Credit:

Under Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, hundreds of civil rights complaints before her department are being dismissed, based on a new protocol that seeks to unclog the system, the New York Times reports.

“The Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights has begun dismissing hundreds of civil rights complaints under a new protocol that allows investigators to disregard cases that are part of serial filings or that they consider burdensome to the office,” the New York Times reports.

“The changes worry civil rights groups, which point out that Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has already rescinded guidances meant to protect students against sexual assaults on campuses and black and transgender students against bias.”

The department’s Office for Civil Rights responds that it wants to be more efficient and effective than it was under the Obama administration, “which was known for its aggressive enforcement and broad investigations but was also accused of being overzealous and leaving cases languishing for years,” the newspaper reports.

California Civil Case Against Bill Cosby Clears Big Test

The ongoing civil courts education known as the Bill Cosby case will apparently continue. The Washington Post is among those reporting that “… the California Supreme Court has turned down Bill Cosby’s challenge to a sexual assault lawsuit against him, meaning the suit can go forward and Cosby could be questioned under oath for the first time in years — by super-aggressive, feminist lawyer Gloria Allred.”
While “super-aggressive” might be in the eye of the beholder, it is clear that the case will continue to illustrate issues like civil-vs.-criminal trials and limitations on prosecution. The WaPo also has commentary from Allread: “We believe we have a right to take his deposition in this civil lawsuit. We are going to tomorrow provide him with dates in August when we are available to do that… we are willing to even go to Massachusetts where allegedly he resides and take it.”