Government - Voters Recall Judge In Rape Case
The California judge whose awful decision in a high profile rape case set off national discussions on the treatment of female plaintiffs and white privilege was ousted from office in the state's primary election.
Voters decided to recall 56-year old Aaron Persky from the Santa Clara County bench with a majority of roughly 60 percent. It was the first time Californians recalled a judge since 1934.
Persky became the target of a well-funded, well-organized recall campaign because of his decision two years ago in the case against Stanford University student and athlete Brock Turner, who raped an intoxicated, unconscious woman behind a dumpster outside of a frat party. The victim implored the court not to consider Turner's elite social status in his sentencing. The prosecution wanted Turner to spend six years in jail.
But Persky, a former collegiate swimmer like the defendant, sentenced Turner to six months in jail. Researchers went into Persky's past cases, and detected what they believed was a pattern of leniency towards sexual assault suspects. Turner was freed after serving only three months under a policy aimed at reducing jail overcrowding.
At the same time, tales of African American defendants being sentenced to years in prison for minor offenses or parole violations were racing up and down social media, adding to the perception of a massive injustice.
"Tonight many, many voters voted against the culture of impunity for high-status perpetrators of sexual assault or domestic violence," said Stanford University professor Michele Dauber, who chaired the Recall Judge Aaron Persky Campaign. "This election expresses clearly that sexual assault, sexual violence is serious and it has to be taken seriously by elected officials. It's a historical moment when women across all sectors of society are standing up saying, 'Enough is enough'."