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Voters Recall Lenient Judge in Brock Turner Sexual Assault Case
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Summary: The judge who gave the Stanford swimmer/sexual assaulter Brock Turner a light sentence has been recalled in California. 

The judge who handed Brock Turner a lenient sentence for sexual assault in 2016 was voted out of office yesterday. According to USA Today, “Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky, 56, became the target of a recall after sentencing Turner, who could have faced 14 years in prison, to only six months behind bars.”

  
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Brock Turner’s case was massively controversial, even before the #MeToo movement. Turner, a Stanford University swimmer, was caught having sex with an unconscious girl outside by a dumpster in 2015. The two men who witnessed the incident yelled at Turner to stop and chased him down.

“I stood there examining my body beneath the stream of water and decided, I don’t want my body anymore. I was terrified of it, I didn’t know what had been in it, if it had been contaminated, who had touched it,” Jane Doe, then 23, said. “I wanted to take off my body like a jacket and leave it at the hospital with everything else.”

The unnamed witness read a tearful statement during the trial, and the two men verified what had happened. Despite the emotional weight of the case, Persky was more sympathetic to the defendant Turner, who Persky said had a bright future ahead of him. Persky sentenced Turner to six months in jail but Turner was released early on good behavior.

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Turner was convicted of assault with intent to commit rape of an intoxicated/unconscious person, penetration of an intoxicated person and penetration of an unconscious person.

The victim’s statement was published in full by Buzzfeed, where it quickly went viral and was seen by 10 million people in less than a week. Brock Turner’s case became infamous, and days after the sentencing, Persky was quietly re-elected to a six-year term, running unopposed. However, a recall effort was created, and on Tuesday, voters elected to push him out of office.



“Judge Persky has failed women in a very significant way, and the voters are going to hold him accountable,” Stanford professor Michelle Dauber said. “Many eyes are going to be on Santa Clara County as a model for how to respond to bias against women in the legal system.”

Persky has declined to talk about the Turner sentencing, but he said that the recall threatened the justice system.

“We ask judges to follow the rule of law, not the rule of public opinion,” Persky said. “The recall, if successful, threatens the integrity of our justice system.”

What do you think of Judge Aaron Persky? Let us know in the comments below.



 

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