A New Jersey appeals court has blasted a state family court judge, James Troiano, and reversed his decision, after he refused to try as an adult a 16-year-old boy accused of raping an intoxicated 16-year-old girl and sending video of the alleged sex assault to his buddies.
In a ruling last year in Monmouth County, New Jersey Superior Court Judge James Troiano denied prosecutors’ motion to try the teen as an adult and instead said: “This young man comes from a good family who put him into an excellent school where he was doing extremely well.”
Judge Troiano, 69, refused to allow the teenager to be tried in adult court, saying the claims were not a ‘traditional case of rape’ and that the boy had not shown ‘calculation or cruelty’.
The retired judge, who is asked to fill vacancies on the bench, even complained that the alleged victim had not been told about the ‘devastating effect’ that a full adult trial would have on the boy.
But the judge’s decision has now been overturned by a higher court in highly critical 14-page ruling warning Troiano of any bias towards privileged alleged perpetrators.
Some of the judge’s comments in which he praised the alleged rapist’s academic performance
According to prosecutors, the boy, named only as G.M.C. in court documents, had assaulted the girl, also 16 and called Mary to protect her identity, at the party attended by 30 teens in New Jersey in 2017.
After both had been drinking, he allegedly filmed himself raping her in a darkened room, then shared the footage with friends, sending a text saying: ‘When your first time having sex was rape’.
According to court documents: ‘While on the sofa, a group of boys sprayed Febreze on Mary’s bottom and slapped it with such force that the following day she had hand marks on her buttocks.’
The girl, was left vomiting and with bruise marks, and was driven home by a friend’s mother, documents show.
When she told her mom she worried ‘sexual things had happened at the party’ her family pursued criminal charges against the boy.
The supreme court in overruling Judge James Troiano, [photo], has opened the path for the teen suspect, 16, accused of rape to be tried as an adult
Prosecutors say the 16-year-old alleged victim was ‘visibly intoxicated, physically helpless and unable to provide consent’, and applied for the boy to be tried as an adult.
The prosecutor wrote: ‘At the time he led Mary into the basement gym, she was visibly intoxicated and unable to walk without stumbling.
‘For the duration of the assault, the lights in the gym remained off and the door was barred by a foosball table. Filming a cellphone video while committing the assault was a deliberate act of debasement.’
‘This was neither a childish misinterpretation of the situation, nor was it a misunderstanding,’ they argued.
‘His behavior was calculated and cruel. This level of criminal sophistication warrants the elevation of this case via involuntary waiver to the adult criminal court.’
However, Judge Troiano disagreed and even suggested prosecutors should have explained to the girl how pressing charges would destroy her alleged attacker’s life.
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’.
In a two-hour ruling in Monmouth County last year the judge also discussed how the girl had been intoxicated, saying she ‘doesn’t remember much of what happened’.
On the boy, he said: ‘Do I believe that it shows in any way a calculation or cruelty on his part or sophistication or a predatory nature? No, I do not.
‘This young man comes from a good family who put him into an excellent school where he was doing extremely well.’
Malicious behavior: The suspect allegedly filmed himself raping with the girl in a darkened room, then shared the footage with friends, sending a text saying ‘When your first time having sex was rape‘
Judge Troiano, refused to allow the teenager to be tried in adult court, saying the claims were not a ‘traditional case of rape’ and that the boy had not shown ‘calculation or cruelty’, the opposite of the the superior court’s finding
He also dismissed the boy’s text messages as ‘a 16-year-old kid saying stupid crap to his friends’. As a result, the judge ordered the boy to be tried as a juvenile.
The New Jersey appeals court disagreed with Troiano and has since reversed his decision.
Giving their reasons, the senior judges said Judge Troiano had gone off course and ‘decided the case for himself’.
‘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,’ they said.