I was just shocked when I read a Guardian report this morning of a southern California judge who made some very worrying and stupid remarks about women who were or raped and what it is that they should probably do to avoid that.
The judge’s comments would have been very and harshly criticised had this been done by one of South African judges. But then again, I think SA judges are smarter than the Californians. According to a report, superior court Judge Derek Johnson allegedly said women are raped because they [don’t] put up a fight” and that if they did their bodies “will not [allow the rape] to happen”. But the California Commission of Judicial Performance found Johnson’s remarks as inappropriate and in breach of the judicial ethics.
Johnson, a former prosecutor in the Orange County district attorney’s sex crimes unit, said during the man’s 2008 sentencing that he had seen violent cases on that unit and that although he was not a gynecologist, he, however, could tell that: “if someone doesn’t want to have sexual intercourse the body shuts down. The body will not permit that to happen unless a lot of damage is inflicted, and we heard nothing about that in this case”. The commission’s chairman, Lawrence J Simi, viewed the judge’s remarks as “outdated, biased and insensitive”. He said such comments did not help but instead diminished public confidence and trust in the impartiality of the judiciary, reported Guardian online.
Simi’s comments follow Johnson’s remarks in the case of a man who threatened to mutilate the face and genitals of his former girlfriend with a heated screwdriver, beat her with a metal baton and made other violent threats before committing rape and other crimes. Although the woman reported the criminal threats the next day, according a Guardian report, she did not report the rape until 17 days later.
The commission found Johnson’s remarks as an opinion and not law.
In his apology the judge admitted to his comments being inappropriate. He, however, (in my opinion) justified them, saying they were out of frustration during an argument with a prosecutor over the defendant’s sentence. Johnson believed the prosecutor’s request of a 16-year sentence was not authorised by law, according to a report, and thereby sentencing the rapist to six years imprisonment because it was “worth” it.
It is quite ridiculous to think a senior judge could have come up with such a sick and inn-informed opinion which is not based on an existing law but mainly on frustrations. Nxa!