The California judge who notoriously gave former Stanford University student Brock Turner a 6-month sentence for sexual assault has been voted off the bench in the first successful recall vote of a judge in decades.
Voters on Tuesday chose to recall Santa Clara County Judge Aaron Persky two years after the Turner case brought him worldwide scorn. He is the first judge to be recalled by voters since 1977 and the first in California since 1932, according to the Mercury News in San Jose.
Santa Clara County was legally obligated to put the recall on a countywide ballot after 95,000 signatures to oust Persky were turned in last month. The recall campaign largely centered on his handling of the Turner case. 59.96% of voters in the county supported the recall, according to election results. 40% were against it. There were 105,561 votes against Persky and about 71,000 voted in his favor.
The move to oust Persky started just days after he gave Turner, a 20-year-old star swimming, six months in jail for felony assault charges. Turner was convicted of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman at an off-campus party.
He ended up serving only half of his sentence due to good behavior but had to register for life as a sex offender.
Stanford Law Professor Michele Dauber was friends with Turner’s victim and she led the movement to recall the judge. Dauber said she noticed a pattern of bias favoring male athletes by Persky, according to the Stanford Daily. She also claimed he was biased against female victims of sexual assault.
Persky will be immediately replaced by Cindy Hendrickson, an assistant district attorney was publicly supportive of the recall effort.
The now-ousted judge told The Associated Press last month that he didn’t regret his setence for Turner. He said he was shocked by the outrage and the efforts to remove him.
“I expected some negative reaction,” Persky said. “But not this.”
He has previously said he gave Turner six months because he felt prison would have a severe impact on the former student athlete. Persky was also following a recommendation from the county probation department, according to The Associated Press. The California Commission on Judicial Performance determined he had handled the case legally. Prosecutors had asked for a 7-year prison sentence for the assault. The victim’s statement read in court before Turner’s sentence went viral after it was published online in 2016.
[Photo: Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office]