Judge Who Gave Lenient Rape Sentence to Stanford Athlete Ousted in California Recall Vote

Aaron Persky, the Santa Clara County Superior Court judge who sentenced Stanford student Brock Turner to just six months in jail for sexually assaulting an unconscious woman, was recalled on Tuesday. This is the first time in 80 years that a judge has been recalled in California. The last time a judge was recalled in the United States was in Wisconsin over 40 years ago.

In 2015, Turner sexually assaulted a woman next to a dumpster after she blacked out from being overly intoxicated. In March 2016, a jury found Turner guilty on three felony charges: sexual penetration with a foreign object of an intoxicated person, sexual penetration with a foreign object of an unconscious person, and intent to commit rape.

Despite the maximum sentence in Turner’s case being 14 years, Judge Persky only sentenced him to six months, of which Turner only served three. Critics protested that the punishment was far too lenient for such an egregious assault, and as a result California lawmakers passed a law requiring minimum sentences in sexual assault cases.

Opponents of Judge Persky’s recall, however, argue that the removal of judges will pressure them to follow the rule of public opinion as opposed to the rule of law.

Additional Reading

Recall of judge in Brock Turner case stirs courtroom concern, Associated Press June 6, 2018

California Voters Remove Judge Aaron Persky, Who Gave a 6-Month Sentence for Sexual Assault, The New York Times June 6, 2018

Judge criticized for Stanford athlete’s rape sentence is ousted in recall vote, ABA Journal June 6, 2018

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