Judge Rosemarie Aquilina says that Larry Nassar’s sentencing isn’t about her. However, that hasn’t stopped her from publicly announcing that she’s considering a run for Michigan Supreme court. Aquilina says it’s Michigan Democrats that approached her about the run. Aquilina is a graduate of Cooley Law School and an Ingham County Circuit Court judge.
Aquilina presided over the sentence of gymnastics doctor and sexual offender Larry Nassar. Nassar worked as the volunteer doctor for the women’s national gymnastics team from 1996 to 2015. Nassar received sentences from the federal and Michigan state courts that amount to more than a life sentence for the sexual abuse of hundreds of girls and women.
The presiding judge allowed the audience to clap after each victim delivered their victim impact statement at the Nassar sentencing. Although Nassar objected to what he called a media circus, Aquilina allowed the family members of victims to also make statements. The sentencing hearing extended into a second week as more than 100 victims and their family members made statements to the court.
Aquilina says that she would enjoy working as a Supreme Court justice. She notes that judges of the Supreme Court spend more time listening to arguments from other lawyers than they spend listening to victims. She says that she enjoys her current elected position and she would have to think about whether she truly wants to make the change.
Others are critical of the way that Aquilina conducted the sentencing. They said that she shouldn’t have made comments during the sentencing hearing that indicated bias. They say that it was inappropriate for Aquilina to take pride in signing what she called Nassar’s “death warrant.” She also seemed gleeful at the thought that Nassar may be abused in prison. Some say Aquilina’s conduct opened the case up for grounds for Nassar’s appeal.