Anyone who walks into court comes with a hope that the person sitting in the judge’s chair has the discernment to rightfully convict those who are proven guilty, and perhaps even be sensitive to those who are proven to be victims of the crime.
Superior Court Judge John Russo Jr. behaved in a manner that no alleged victim should ever have to be subjected to. In 2016, the New Jersey judge made shocking comments while presiding over a hearing where a woman was seeking a restraining order. She was seeking the order against a man who raped her, as reported by CBS News.
When the woman described the incident, the transcript of the courtroom sessions reveals Russo asking the woman, “Do you know how to stop somebody from having intercourse with you?”
“Yes,” the woman answered and gave the suggestions of physically defending oneself and running away.
Russo replied, “Run away, get away. Anything else?”
“I—that’s all I know,” said the woman.
Russo went on to say, “Block your body parts? Close your legs? Call the police? Did you do any of those things?”
After the woman left the courtroom, it was reported that the judge then joked about her to the staffers and Chief Justice Stuart Rabner said this was “just as problematic.”
A New Jersey family court Judge John Russo Jr. was accused of misconduct after he asked an alleged rape victim if she tried to close her legs. Forget warnings, He needs to be removed ASAP. https://t.co/Sa7baVHGxk
— Amee Vanderpool (@girlsreallyrule) April 5, 2019
“Judges set the tone for a courtroom. Especially when it comes to sensitive matters like domestic violence and sexual assault, that tone must be dignified, solemn, and respectful, not demeaning or sophomoric. [Russo] failed in that regard.” Rabner wrote in a court opinion that was filed on May 26.