Calif. judge admonished for rape comments

Dec. 14, 2012 at 11:39 AM
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SAN FRANCISCO, Dec. 14 (UPI) -- A California judge who, in 2008, said a rape victim "didn't put up a fight," has been chastised by a commission that called his remarks insensitive and biased.

The Commission on Judicial Performance said Orange County Superior Court Judge Derek G. Johnson's comments, including remarks that the sexual assault was "technical" and not a "real, live criminal case," violated judicial ethics, the Los Angeles Times reported Friday.

Johnson's remarks defied California law, which does not require proof a rape victim tried to fight off an attack, the San Francisco-based commission said in a release Thursday.

"In the commission's view, the judge's remarks reflected outdated, biased and insensitive views about sexual assault victims who do not 'put up a fight,'" the panel said.

At a sentencing in 2008, Johnson denied a prosecutor's call to impose a 16-year prison term on convicted rapist Metin Gurel, imposing a six-year term instead.

Court records released Thursday indicated 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."

Johnson has been on the Orange County Superior Court bench since 2000.

The commission said it wasn't made aware of the judge's remarks until 2012.

Johnson and his attorney declined to comment, the Times said.

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