Perhaps this is where Missouri Rep. Todd Akin learned about “legitimate rape.”
The California Commission on Judicial Performance voted 10-0 to admonish Superior Court Judge Derek Johnson for comments that he made during 2008 sentencing of a convicted rapist. Johnson’s comments are eerily similar to Akin’s comments that a woman can’t get pregnant when raped. While Johnson does not speak of pregnancy, his words are fraught with the same ignorance and distortions that sank Akin’s Senate campaign.
Yahoo!News summarized the incident and aftermath:
“In the commission’s view, the judge’s remarks reflected outdated, biased and insensitive views about sexual assault victims who do not ‘put up a fight.’ Such comments cannot help but diminish public confidence and trust in the impartiality of the judiciary,” wrote Lawrence J. Simi, the commission’s chairman.
Johnson made the comments in the case of a man who threatened to mutilate the face and genitals of his ex-girlfriend with a heated screwdriver, beat her with a metal baton and made other violent threats before committing rape, forced oral copulation, and other crimes.
Because the woman waited 17 days to report the rape (she reported the threats the next day), Johnson felt that there was something suspicious about the rape allegations.
“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,” Johnson said.
According to Johnson, a woman intimidated or threatened into sex is not really raped unless she puts up enough violent resistance that her vagina is “shredded” by the rape. “Shredded” is Johnson’s word.
This is worse than Akin’s comments. At least in Akin’s case, he was thinking of a hypothetical. He is simply ignorant of female reproduction.
Johnson, on the other hand, spoke his ignorance directly to the victim of a rape. He tells her that she has to be physically injured for a rape to be “legitimate.”
During his hearing, Johnson apologized to the commission. In essence, Johnson claimed that it was really the prosecutor’s fault for his outburst. Johnson said he was angry with the prosecutor for seeking a lengthy prison sentence that was not supported by the law.
Nearly as outrageous as Johson’s words is that it took four years for the commission to come to a decision on this. That isn’t slow. That’s glacial. There’s no reason that a judge should get away with such an outlandish insult to a rape victim.
Yet outlandish seems to be Johnson’s forte. A couple of years ago, a prisoner at the county jail demanded that he be provided high-protein double portion kosher meals since the food at he jail was not healthy enough. The inmate was not Jewish, but Johnson approved the more expensive, special meals anyway.
Johnson needed a religion to put in his order to justify the kosher meals. The first suggestion of “healthism” was rejected by Johnson, but he accepted the second choice as legitimate. The religion used was “Festivus.”
There’s no reason to be surprised at what goes on in Judge Johnson’s court. If he’s feels that its fine to direct his anger to victims of crimes, then he should be either kicked off the bench or reassigned to traffic court or somewhere that he can do less damage.