This is the property of the Daily Journal Corporation and fully protected by copyright. It is made available only to Daily Journal subscribers for personal or collaborative purposes and may not be distributed, reproduced, modified, stored or transferred without written permission. Please click "Reprint" to order presentation-ready copies to distribute to clients or use in commercial marketing materials or for permission to post on a website. and copyright (showing year of publication) at the bottom.

Judges and Judiciary

Feb. 8, 2018

What’s missing from the Nassar discussion

Judges are required to be fair, neutral and impartial and to be perceived as such at all times.

Much has been discussed about the Larry Nassar case in the media: the victims, coaches and staff, university administrators, and Olympic officials.

What has been missing is a discussion about the judiciary and its proper role in this case. Judges are required to be fair, neutral and impartial and to be perceived as such at all times.

Sentencing Judge Rosemarie Aquilina has been reported to have said to Nassar, "Our Constitution does not allow for cruel and unusual punishment. If it did... I would allow some or many people to do to him what he did to others."

This was not the only concerning statement that she made.

Her reaction was understandable, but was it proper? Did she fail to fulfill her judicial role as an impartial arbiter of justice and instead become an advocate for the victims?

There is no question that the severe sentence was just. Nassar does not generate any sympathy.

However, might future defendants, in other cases, have concerns about being sentenced fairly by this judge?

Judges must be held to the highest standards in all cases, not just in some. Just because there was public support for the judge's comments does not make them appropriate.

We should all be concerned. Why haven't the bar or judicial associations addressed these concerns?


Ben Armistead

For reprint rights:

Email for prices.
Direct dial: 949-702-5390

If you would like to purchase a copy of your Daily Journal photo, call (213) 229-5558.

Send a letter to the editor: