State, Federal Lawmakers Join Calls for Judge’s Removal

The controversy over a judge's light sentence for a Stanford University rapist isn’t going away anytime soon.

Over a dozen state lawmakers penned a letter Friday to the Commission on Judicial Performance, requesting an investigation into possible misconduct by Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky. The legislators have also asked the county's district attorney Jeff Rosen to have the case reviewed by another judge because they claim Persky's status as a Stanford alum caused him to be partial to the defendant during sentencing.

Some members of Congress have decided to weigh in on the case. Petitions for Persky's resignation or removal have also garnered over a million signatures and potential jurors are now refusing to serve in his court. At least one group, the Santa Clara County Bar Association, has come to the judge's defense, saying the removal of a jurist for sentencing in a case would threaten the independence of the judiciary. There is no evidence that Persky violated any rules of conduct, they added, noting that there were no other complaints of impropriety against the judge during his 13 years on the bench.

Still, even those who disagree with the calls for his ouster acknowledge that the sentencing was downright bizarre. Brock Turner was facing a maximum of 14 years for rape; the prosecutor had asked for 6. Instead, Persky handed down a sentence of six months in county jail. With good behavior, Turner is expected to be out in September—a seemingly small price to pay for a man who was caught and then fled after raping a 23-year-old unconscious woman behind a dumpster.

Read more about the growing chorus for Judge Persky’s removal here.

Image Credit: Flickr User chasecarter, via (CC BY-ND 2.0)



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