TRENTON, NJ – Senator Patrick Diegnan joined Senators Bob Smith, Joseph Vitale, and Linda Greenstein in calling for an immediate investigation into Middlesex County Superior Court Judge Marcia Silva and her removal from the bench.
The Senators submitted a formal complaint to the Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct on Friday.
The basis for the complaint is a 2018 decision issued by Judge Silva in a case involving a 16-year-old boy, referred to in court documents as E.R.M., who is accused of sexually assaulting a 12-year-old girl, referred to in court documents as Mary.
Judge Silva denied a motion to waive the 16-year-old to adult court on charges that he sexually assaulted the juvenile.
According to the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office, E.R.M. forced Mary to have sex after she explicitly told him “no.” Prosecutors further allege that E.R.M. “knew what he wanted to do and set out a plan to do it.” E.R.M. was culpable, they say, even if Mary had consented, since she was twelve years of age, and E.R.M. was sixteen. Prosecutors allege that E.R.M.'s use of a condom meant he had “a high level of mature reasoning in committing an aggravated sexual assault[.]”
In denying the Prosecution's motion to treat E.R.M. as an adult, Judge Silva’s stated that “the victim claimed that the [j]uvenile pushed her, grabbed her hands, removed her clothing and then penetrated her without her actual consent...However, beyond losing her virginity, the State did not claim that the victim suffered any further injuries, either physical, mental or emotional.”
The Appellate Court that reviewed the opinion reversed Judge Silva’s decision last month, stating that Judge Silva, a family court judge, minimized the harm wrought on a 12-year-old child. According to the Appellate Court, Judge Silva overstepped her authority and usurped the prosecutorial function.
“As state senators representing Middlesex County, we are requesting an investigation into the judicial conduct of Superior Court Judge Marcia Silva and her disturbing ruling in a case where she unequivocally stated that a 12-year-old rape victim suffered no injuries beyond losing her virginity at an age where the girl had no capacity to consent to sexual acts,” wrote the senators in a joint letter to the Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct.
“We unanimously believe that a detailed investigation must result in Judge Silva’s removal from the bench,” they stated.
In their letter to the Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct, the state senators allege that Judge Silva violated rules covering judicial conduct.
“Our judicial system must be held to the highest ethical and professional standards. Faith in our courts is fundamental to our society and leaving Judge Silva in place after such a display of misjudgment hurts not only the confidence in Middlesex’s court system, but all of New Jersey. Her behavior is unacceptable, it cannot be tolerated and therefore, we urge the judicial branch to take immediate corrective action,” they stated.
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