ORANGE COUNTY, CA -- Orange County Superior Court Judge Derek Johnson has been admonished for making "insensitive'' comments about rape during the sentencing of a defendant more than four years ago, a state oversight committee announced Thursday.
Although Johnson made the comments in June 2008, the Commission on Judicial Performance did not become aware of them until May of this year.
As Johnson was sentencing a convicted rapist to six years in prison instead of 16 years as a prosecutor requested, the judge said: "I'm not a gynecologist, but I can tell you something -- 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. That tells me that the victim in this case, although she wasn't necessarily willing, she didn't put up a fight. And to treat this case like the rape cases that we all hear about is an insult to victims of rape. I think it's an insult. I think it trivializes a rape.''
The judge went on to say, "I found this whole case to be a technical case. The rape is technical. The forced oral copulation is technical. It's more of a crime law test than a real live criminal case.''
The commission admonished the judge because his comments indicated he was not impartial when considering some sexual assault victims and that he offered his own opinions rather than relying on physical evidence.
"In the commission's view, the judge's remarks reflected outdated, biased and insensitive views about sexual assault victims who do not 'put up a fight,' '' the commission said in its judgment. "Such comments cannot help but diminish public confidence and trust in the impartiality of the judiciary.''
The commission noted that the judge has acknowledged his comments were inappropriate and he apologized for them.
Johnson's attorney, Paul Meyer, declined comment. "Neither Judge Johnson or I will be making a comment,'' Meyer said.
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--City News Service