U.S. judge says teenager rape defendant from 'good family' deserves leniency
U.S. judge says teenager rape defendant from 'good family' deserves leniency
Judge James Troiano said the boy's actions were not necessarily rape because"traditional rape cases involve"two or more generally males involved
05 July, 2019, 07:01
A New Jerseyjudge is under fire after he rejected a request from prosecutors to charge a 16-year-old suspect in an alleged sexual assault as an adult, writing in a controversial ruling that the teen "comes from a good family" and is a candidate for a "good college".
In a juvenile case, a 16-year-old girl accused a 16-year-old boy of sexually assaulting her and filming it at a pajama themed party in Monmouth County.
She then learned that G.M.C. was sending the video of the assault to his friends, and asked him to stop. Days after the incident, G.M.C. allegedly sent a text to his friends that said: "when your first time having sex was rape".
New Jersey prosecutors can push juvenile cases to adult trials for serious crimes if suspects are age 15 and older, NBC News said, adding that the teen in this case - if tried as an adult - would have faced counts of first-degree aggravated sexual assault, second-degree sexual assault, third-degree endangering the welfare of a child, two counts of third-degree invasion of privacy, and would have had to register as a sex offender.
While the Monmouth County prosecutor's office recommended in 2017 that GMC be tried as an adult, calling his actions "sophisticated and predatory", Judge James Troiano of Superior Court denied the prosecutors' motion past year.
"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 application", the court wrote in its ruling. A court hands back the case On June 14, the Appellate Division of the New Jersey Superior Court reversed Troiano's decision and sent the case back down for further judgment. Judge Aaron Pensky sparked outrage after sentencing Turner, convicted of sexual assault, to only six months in prison and was recalled from office in 2018.
"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", prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni said in a statement. Apparently, he said that even if the girl's claim was true, "the offense is not an especially heinous or cruel offense beyond the elements of the crimes that the waiver statute intends to target".
Describing how he imagined the "traditional case of rape", he said there were generally two or more men involved, "either at gunpoint or weapon", and mentioned ideas such as "manhandling" and an "abandoned shack".
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The case, which was originally filed in 2016, was not public because the Family Court judge had barred prosecution in adult court.
The appeals court has cleared the way for the case to go from family court to an adult court, where it will be tried by a grand jury.
'As with all cases, we are assessing our next steps, which will include discussions with the victim and her family.' New Jersey Courts Director of Communications Peter McAleer said Troiano has no comment on the most recent developments.
The panel made similar arguments in the case of the 12-year-old girl who was allegedly assaulted by 16-year-old E.R.M.
A judge suggested that a teenage boy accused of raping a drunk girl at a party should be treated leniently because he came from "a good family", and cast doubt on whether such an attack amounted to rape at all.
But there's some concern among U.S. prosecutors that they won't win appeals like this in the future if legislation is enacted aimed at providing lower court judges more discretion.
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