Sometimes we can all let our tempers get the better of us.
But when you're a judge, you're supposed to hold yourself to a slightly higher standard.
Otherwise, you could find yourself removed from the case, just like Middlesex County Superior Court Judge Joseph Rea.
In 2015, charges were pressed against English teacher John Angeline for the alleged sexual assault of a 15-year-old male student. During a hearing on June 28, the victim's mother was heard scoffing with the accused within earshot.
New Jersey Judge Joseph Rea spoke out, saying:
"What's the problem back there? Excuse me, if you have enough nerve to make some noise, stand up and be heard. What's the problem?"
The victims mother answered:
"We've been dealing with this for four and a half years, your honor. Four and a half years. And it's been constant delays and pushbacks."
The mother and her son had travelled in from another state to witness what they believe would be the end of Angeline's legal process. At the last minute, however, a plea deal was discarded and trials continued.
After Rea asked who she was, both mother and son stood and answered:
"We're the victims, your honor. All I'm asking for is fairness for this case. Please. Please."
Rea took offense, saying the victims should be voicing these complaints with the prosecutors office.
"Because you're being inappropriate, keep your mouth shut, sit down."
The victim's mother would later tell the press that she worried her son wouldn't be able to get "a fair chance at justice" with Rea as the judge.
Assistant Prosecutor Thomas Carver filed a motion for recusal, claiming that Rea appeared biased.
Rea would tell the press that he stood by his words, and still believed he was capable of delivering an impartial trial.
"I told them to be quiet. I think they took exception to that."
Nevertheless, the judge granted the motion for recusal after his words began going viral.
"There was language in the newspaper accounts that concerned me because there were words attributed to the victim's mother because she felt that she couldn't get a fair trial, or didn't think her son could get a fair trial."
The mother would later tell NJ.com:
"...all we want is fairness and a level playing field. Hopefully this change will bring that."
Angeline's defense lawyer, Joseph Mazaraani, also had some strong words regarding the recusal, however.
"I'm not a person to hold my tongue. I think this motion is B.S. There is a certain bias against criminal defendants. Victims and alleged victims think they can just run the show. Defendants have more rights, a lot more rights, than victims do. Let's just be clear about that. Nobody wants to talk about that."
The trial will proceed with a new judge as soon as one is assigned by the county.
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