As many of you may have seen, on 3rd April the world was shocked by the comments of Judge M. Marc Kelly in Orange County California, regarding the sentencing of child rapist Kevin Jonas Rojano.
Rojano anally raped a female toddler, only 3 years of age. Yet he received a sentence of 15 years less than the mandatory minimum sentence for such a crime. The reason he was able to get away with such a reduced sentence was in the name of ‘judicial disrection’.
As a Law Student here at Southampton, nothing could be more vile to me than hearing this total abuse of the law and the twisting of the legal principles which have stood for centuries worldwide, all in order to grant some sanctuary to someone who has committed one of the worst crimes imaginable.
Judge Kelly said in his judgment that:
“Mr. Rojano did not seek out or stalk [the victim]. He was playing video games and she wandered into the garage. He inexplicably became sexually aroused but did not appear to consciously intend to harm (the victim) when he sexually assaulted her.”
He based his ‘judicial discretion’ upon his understanding that the rape was not premeditated, and that this ‘key element’ vitiated any aspect of violence towards the toddler on Rojano’s part.
I can assure you, Judge Kelly, that never has premeditation been a condition to finding a defendant guilty of rape, and thus imposing the correct, mandatory, minimum sentence upon them. A lack of premeditation also does not negate the prospect of the crime being violent. A rape is one of the most violent crimes that exists: it causes physical and psychological harm not only to the victim but to the victim’s family who have to watch their poor child, brother, sister or spouse struggle with everyday life as they grow older. A rape can cause economic loss for parents who have to quit their employments to be able to provide adequate care for their abused child. In short, rape is not a victimless crime, and is therefore definitely not a non-violent one either.
Judge Kelly clearly has an issue grasping this concept. I’ll explain it in terms of murder.
Your defendant, Mr Rojano, instead of raping a 3 year old girl, kills her. It’s not premeditated. He was playing games in his garage when she just happened to wander in. He became inexplicably aroused by the thought of shooting her, but he didn’t intend to harm her, he just intended to shoot her.
Can you now see how absolutely preposterous this sounds?
The crime was still committed, and despite there being no premeditation, it was still violent. Judicial discretion is not an excuse for you to accept a bribe (which I strongly suspect, and somewhat hope, must have been the case here), and alter a mandatory minimum sentence for one of the most heinous crimes known to man.
I now feel only sorrow for the little girl whose life will never be the same, and for her family. I hope that they find some support and salvation in the fact that at least the abuser is in prison for 10 years, and that the whole world is on their side.