The chief judge of Ingham County Circuit Court denied today a request by defense lawyers for Larry Nassar to have judge Rosemarie Aquilina disqualified from one of the disgraced former doctor’s criminal cases. Nassar’s lawyers had argued that they believed Aquilina’s statements in court showed that she had made up her mind before sentencing him to 40 to 175 years in prison after he was convicted of 10 counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct. In his decision, posted online by the Lansing State Journal, chief judge Richard Garcia wrote that he believes the defense lawyers are blaming Aquilina for anger caused by Nassar’s actions, saying “the die was cast in the courtroom and defendant’s sentence was forged by his own words and deeds.”
One issue the defense lawyers raised was when Aquilina appeared to advocate for cruel and unusual punishment, saying in court: “Our constitution does not allow for cruel and unusual punishment. If it did, I have to say, I might allow what he did to all of these beautiful souls—these young women in their childhood—I would allow someone or many people to do to him what he did to others.”
Garcia wrote that Aquilina didn’t mean that, especially given other comments she made. From his order:
Garcia also disagreed with their argument that Aquilina didn’t maintain order in the court, and he wrote that it was important that the judge let Nassar’s victims speak and acknowledge their pain, as Aquilina did during the trial’s week of victim impact statements.
The full order, as obtained by the State Journal, is below.