No one is above the law. Not even those who make it.
The law is a very important aspect of our lives, and it is one of the foundations on which our society has been built. That being said, it is essential to ensure that the people who have been put in charge of safeguarding it are competent enough to carry out their duties.
A judge from New Jersey who was accused of asking a woman in open court why she didn’t ‘keep her legs closed’ in order to stop a sexual assault has been scheduled to have a hearing of his own this week.
A committee on judicial conduct based in Trenton is said to be considering the case of state Superior Court Judge John Russo in the coming days.
Russo is accused of making the comment back in 2016 to a woman who was seeking a restraining order against a man who she accused of forcing her to have sexual relations with him.
According to a complaint which was filed in March, Russo is also accused of making other court violations. Ever since his name got into the limelight last year, Russo has been laced on administrative leave.
In a response that was filed sometime last month, Russo made an argument that the complaint contained factual inaccuracies and based on this ground, it deserves to be dismissed immediately.
He says that the comment made to the woman was in no way supposed to serve as a reflection of the way and manner in which he handed the entire matter. The woman in question was in the process of being cross-examined by the defendant’s lawyer when Russo allegedly decided to make an intervention.
According to a complaint which was filed against him by The Supreme Court Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct, he supposedly asked her, “Do you have an idea of how to stop someone from having sexual intercourse with you?”
The woman responded, “Yes”
“Ok. So how would you go about that?” asked Russo.
“I’d most probably look for a way to cause them physical harm,” she said.
When the woman said that she would ‘tell the person to stop’, short of causing the rapist some form of physical harm, he asked about any other measure that she could have taken in order to stop the person from performing the act, allegedly saying, “Did you close your legs? Did you call the police? Did you do any of these things?”
Russo was barred from the bench back in April of last year after he refused to subject himself to a mental health evaluation that was ordered due to the fact that there had been separate claims of misconduct filed against him. These allegations included accusations from clerks who claimed that he also threw pieces of paperwork at them when he was enraged or displeased. Other allegations included fits of extreme immaturity and potentially dangerous rage, as a matter of fact, one judge said that he once made use of a ‘poop emoji’ while he was in his chambers; an act which ended up proving his alleged childishness.
In a separate case, Russo allegedly intervened so as to reduce the child support payments that a husband was obligated to make from $10,000 to just $300. It is said that upon further questioning, Russo admitted that he was friends with the man.