A handful of New Jersey Democrats have filed a formal complaint with a state board, requesting that it investigate a Middlesex County family court judge who has come under fire for comments she made in a child sexual assault case.
Four state senators on Friday submitted the complaint to the Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct, stating that Superior Court Judge Marcia Silva “undeniably weakened the integrity of the New Jersey court system” last year when she ruled against prosecutors who had requested to charge as an adult a 16-year-old boy accused of raping a 12-year-old girl.
In making her decision, Silva said that “the victim did not suffer any physical or emotional injuries as a result, other than the ramifications of losing her virginity, which the court does not find to be especially serious harm in this case.” Prosecutors said the girl told police the accused “removed her clothing, grabbed her hands, and while wearing a condom, penetrated her with force.”
Silva’s comments, which made national headlines, were revealed in an opinion last month by a state appellate court, which reversed her decision, finding she overstepped in weighing the merits of the case rather than judging the validity of the prosecutors’ request to move the case to adult court.
Silva could not be reached for comment. The Middlesex County Democratic senators who filed the complaint — Bob Smith, Joseph Vitale, Linda Greenstein, and Patrick Diegnan — wrote in the complaint they believe an investigation may result in Silva’s removal from the bench.
The defendant, who hasn’t been publicly identified, is detained in the Juvenile Detention Center pending a detention hearing in adult court.
Last week, state Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg (D., Bergen) called for the removal of both Silva and Judge James G. Troiano, a Monmouth County judge whose ruling in a similar case was also overturned by the appeals court last month.
Troiano last year ruled to keep a teenager — accused of sexually assaulting a girl at a pajama party and filming it — in the juvenile system, at one point citing the boy’s “good family,” high test scores, and status as an Eagle Scout.
Weinberg called the comments “appalling" and said that “having two cases like this is cause for grave concern in the state of New Jersey.” She also urged “additional corrective measures,” and floated requiring training for judges who manage cases of sexual assault.