County Votes to Remove Judge Responsible for Brock Turner's Light Sentence

Erika Holt
June 8, 2018

This story will be updated as new information becomes available.

Northern California voters have recalled a judge. "While this is a sad day for the California judiciary and for Californians, we are heartened by the thousands of voters in Santa Clara County who voted against the recall of Judge Persky". Like Turner, Persky was a Stanford athlete. Mr Rosen also opposed the recall, though he said the sentence was too lenient.

Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky had four years of his term remaining, when the results of a vote to recall him emerged on Tuesday night.

Turner wound up serving three months of the six-month prison term because of a policy aimed at reducing jail overcrowding.

Turner, who was 20 at the time of the sentencing, was convicted of three felonies - two for digitally penetrating an unconscious or intoxicated person, one for assault with intent to commit rape.

Early returns showed Santa Clara County assistant district attorney Cindy Seeley Hendrickson leading in the race to replace the judge. The state's Commission on Judicial Performance said there was no pattern of bias or misconduct by Persky.

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Under California law, voters can petition for elections to remove state officials from office for any reason. Those who remember it, remember a bad judge making a bad decision and that's about it.

A widely cited 2015 study of elected state judges in Pennsylvania and Washington by New York University's law school concluded that judges are influenced by election cycles.

"As a judge, my role is to consider both sides", he said in the statement. "I think generally judges should accept criticism", he responded, continuing: "They should accept responsibility for rulings". "Following the law isn't necessary popular and judges need some form of insulation from public perception". But in a rare interview with CNN last week, he said a recall wouldn't just harm him, it would set a risky precedent for judges in the future. "They are the ones who are going to receive the sentencings of these judges who are going to be hesitant, if not fearful, to impose a leniency in a sentence".

As of last August, more than 91 law professors - including almost 30 from Stanford - had signed a statement in "strong opposition" to the campaign, arguing that it "threatens the fundamental principles of judicial independence" and could continue the cycle of mass incarceration by encouraging harsher sentences, particularly for people of color and the poor.

"As a woman, I demand that our justice system take campus sexual violence seriously", Daisy Bradanini told Newsweek.

The recall vote it sparked came at a time that has seen hundreds of women publicly accusing powerful men in business, government and entertainment of sexual harassment and abuse. "It wouldn't take much for judges to basically be as tough as they can be". Such elections are rare - the last time a U.S. judge was recalled was in 1977. Turner is also required to register for life as a sex offender. He now lives with his parents near Dayton, Ohio.

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