NJ judge in 2018 teen rape case resigned

He said the accused came from 'a good family'

By Taylor Romine and Josh Girsky, CNN
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(CNN) - A New Jersey judge who said a teenage boy accused of rape should get leniency because he came from a "good family" and got good grades resigned on Wednesday.

Monmouth County Superior Court Judge James Troiano made the remarks in 2018, when denying a request for a 16-year-old boy accused of raping an intoxicated 16-year-old girl to be tried as an adult.

Troiano and his family had received death threats, according to the New York Times, and there have been multiple calls for him to resign.

CNN has reached out to Troiano for comment but has not yet heard back.

Gov. Phil Murphy reacted to the news and said he was "gratified that Judge Troiano will no longer sit on the bench."

A new training initiative for New Jersey judges was also announced today, focusing on an "enhancement of existing training for judges in the areas of sexual assault, domestic violence, implicit bias, and diversity," according to a press release.

The directive, which was issued by acting Administrative Director of the Courts Glenn A. Grant, includes a program that requires a three-day training conference and an annual refresher course, as well as other measures.

 

'Sophisticated and predatory'

 

The accused teen's actions were deemed "sophisticated and predatory" by prosecutors who pushed for his case to be moved out of the juvenile court system so he could be tried as an adult.

But Troiano said in his 2018 denial that the teen's actions were not predatory and not necessarily rape because "traditional" rape cases involve "two or more generally males involved, either at gunpoint or weapon, clearly manhandling a person.

In June, the Appellate Division of the New Jersey Superior Court reversed Troiano's decision and sent the case back down for further judgment.

The appeal claimed that Troiano "erred in denying the waiver motion because, in the process, he substituted his judgment for that of the prosecutor."

Judges in the appeals court agreed, citing Troiano's mention of the boy's background as problematic. "That the juvenile came from a good family and had good test scores we assume would not condemn the juveniles who do not come from good families and do not have good test scores from withstanding waiver applications," the appeal read.

 

Next steps in the appeal

 

Monmouth County prosecutors are now plotting their next move and could indict the defendant in criminal court because of the appeal.

"While we have the utmost respect for the Family Court and the judge in this case, we are grateful that the Appellate Division agreed with our assessment that this case met the legal standards for waiver to Superior Court," Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni said in a statement. "As with all cases, we are assessing our next steps, which will include discussions with the victim and her family."

CNN's Hollie Silverman, AJ Willingham and Carma Hassan contributed to this report.

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