California voters recall judge in Stanford rape case

Critics say Turner's sentece was too lenient.

Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky, a former prosecutor appointed to the bench in 2003 by then-Governor Gray Davis next month will become the first sitting judge recalled in more than 80 years in the state. It was the first recall of a California judge in 86 years. The frenzied atmosphere, with its aggressive fundraising, heated rhetoric and reports of vandalism and threats, resembles the height of a much larger political race.

If not for Persky's decision to go easy on him, Turner could have spent up to 14 years in prison. He was targeted for recall in June 2016 shortly after he sentenced Brock Turner to six months in jail for sexually assaulting a young woman outside a fraternity house on campus.

In other words, he helped incarcerate people like Turner, 22, who now lives near Dayton, Ohio, and is required to register annually for life as a sex offender.

The recall campaign was led by Stanford law professor Michele Dauber.

The victim, who came to be known as Emily Doe, testified she was passed out behind a trash can when two men saw Turner on top of her. Here's hoping that Persky's recall brings hope to victims of assault and some long overdue peace to Turner's survivor.

The campaign appears to have popular support, a local poll found. He said in an interview prior to the election that he had made no plans about a different career should voters oust him. "When judges believe that they will lose their careers for making unpopular but lawful decisions, they may lack the courage to stand up for the rights of minorities or others needing protection from powerful majorities or those with even understandably inflamed passions". By a 60-40 margin, Judge Aaron Persky was recalled from office Tuesday. "When you step into a courtroom before a judge, you will expect, you will request, you will demand a judge who will follow the rule of law, who will tune out public opinion because they must", Persky said. There were 105,561 votes against Persky and about 71,000 voted in his favor. But anti-recall forces, including Cordell, have disputed this.

Dauber, however, dismissed that finding by the California Commission on Judicial Performance, calling it a "one-sided, closed-door procedure".

The organizers behind the push to recall Persky did not immediately respond when asked for comment by the San Francisco Chronicle. The registrar is expected to certify the results on July 5, spokesman Steven Spivak said.

However, in the United States county judges are publicly elected, and as such their positions are subject to review should the community demand it.

Dauber, who said she has faced considerable backlash for speaking out against Stanford University and the case over the last two years, said she'll continue the fight.

Loyola law professor Laurie Levenson called the plan "a good idea" but wondered if voters would grasp its significance.

On both sides of the recall question you'll find county leaders who hate the sentence. But their arguments about judicial independence and probation recommendations could not match a well-organized, well-funded recall campaign.


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