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January 13, 2018

Campaign to recall Brock Turner's sentencing judge turns in many signatures

As reported in this local article, headlined "Effort to recall Stanford rape case judge submits almost 100,000 signatures," a high-profile lenient sentence may soon be putting a California judge's job in jeopardy. Here are the details:

The campaign to recall a judge who issued what many considered a light sentence to a former Stanford swimmer convicted of sexual assault cleared its first hurdle Thursday.

Recall organizers, led by Stanford law Professor Michele Dauber, filed a petition and nearly 100,000 signatures with the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters in San Jose to place a measure on the June ballot to recall Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky.

If successful, it would be the first recall of a California judge in 87 years.

In June 2016, Persky sentenced former Stanford swimmer Brock Turner to six months in jail after he was found guilty of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman by a dumpster outside of a fraternity party on the college campus, resulting in a national outcry that Turner received special treatment. Prosecutors had argued that Turner should spend six years in state prison, but Persky gave him six months in county jail. He ended up being released in three.

While Persky became a prominent public figure after the Turner decision, the recall campaign has attempted to demonstrate a pattern of judicial bias that extends beyond Turner’s case.... At a news conference Thursday morning, Dauber listed a series of cases in which she believed Persky’s handling of sexual assault cases had been too lenient, including a 2011 civil trial on the alleged gang rape of a 17-year-old high school girl by members of the De Anza Community College baseball team. Persky allowed defendants to show photos of the victim wearing a revealing outfit to the jury....

After serving half of his sentence, Turner was required to register as a sex offender after moving back home with his family in Ohio. He recently appealed his conviction, arguing that he didn’t receive a fair trial.

To qualify for June’s election, the Persky recall campaign was required to turn in 58,634 valid signatures by Feb. 2. Organizers submitted a petition with 94,518 signatures that filled 11 boxes outside of the Registrar of Voters office, which now has 30 days to verify them. “We are very confident that we are going to have thousands more than we need to qualify,” Dauber said.

Persky has tried several times to block the recall effort....

Persky based Turner’s jail sentence on a recommendation from the county probation department. The judge noted that prison would have “a severe impact” on the former Stanford swimmer. The petition to place the recall on the ballot is only the first step in the campaign to push out Persky, Dauber said. If the recall is placed on the ballot, voters also will be asked to select a candidate to fill Persky’s seat on the bench. Cindy Hendrickson, an assistant district attorney for Santa Clara County, is the only candidate to date who has filed papers.

On Thursday, Dauber framed the recall effort in historical context by describing the first successful recall effort in California history. “In 1913, the women’s clubs of San Francisco, much like we have done here, banded together to recall a judge named Charles Weller for lenient decisions on sexual assault,” she said.

Dauber also noted the national momentum of the current #MeToo movement. “Women are standing up and refusing to accept the normalization of harassment and abuse by privileged men, and the movement runs all the way from Hollywood to Silicon Valley to media to politics to the legal profession,” Dauber said, expressing support for Hendrickson.

Persky’s ruling — along with the publication of a gut-wrenching letter the victim read in court during Turner’s sentencing hearing — prompted former Vice President Joe Biden to write an open letter to the victim noting that she is a “warrior” who has been failed by many people and institutions.

In a number of prior posts about the Brock Turner case, I have noted concerns both about the lenient sentence he received and about the campaign to recall his judge. Here is just a sampling of the prior posts this case has generated:

January 13, 2018 at 10:25 PM | Permalink


With Hat tip to Docile, delicious news. I only regret there were no serious injuries. I pray, Justices of the Supreme Court get pistol whipped in a carjacking by their thug clients.

It then says, "law enforcement sources confirmed that they had no one in custody and did not release a description of the suspects." The denier, pro-criminal, thug empowering police, agents of the lawyer filth traitor prosecution, do not have to.


Posted by: David Behar | Jan 14, 2018 2:35:56 AM

Doug , what was your preferred sentence 🤔

The defendant’s level of ethanol impairment would have a bearing on his ability to correctly evaluate the young woman’s level of impairment •

Posted by: Docile the Wimpy Terrorist In OR | Jan 14, 2018 6:48:32 AM

Do these efforts generally note that the (woman) in charge of recommending a sentence if anything recommended a bit less than what he received? The discussion notes a supposed trend for the judge in question, which would change things some, though most of the public opposition focused on the singular action.

Posted by: Joe | Jan 14, 2018 10:19:46 AM

If this judge is recalled by the vile feminists, and their male running dogs, he will leave his bench. He will then get a job in criminal defense, and make 10 times as much, as partner. He knows everything about and everyone in criminal law in that jurisdiction. The average judge makes $100,00. The average partner makes $million. Harsh punishment, no?

Posted by: David Behar | Jan 14, 2018 11:04:02 AM

This case brings up a bigger question. Stupid, actual aggravating factors are being used as mitigating factors by the lawyer profession. The biggest factor in crime, alcohol, carries strict liability. Drinking may be as involuntary as youth, mental retardation.

It is an accepted form of mental illness, with genetic predispositions. People cannot stop drinking in the face of very punitive consequences to their health, earnings, social opprobrium, incarceration. Indeed offspring of alcoholics brought up by non-alcoholic parents are more likely to be alcoholics than those in alcoholic families. They have not seen the devastation that alcohol can do.

The decisions made to not allow intoxication as a mitigating factor were made before the above data were known. Some explain why intoxication is not allowed as an excuse.

I believe all crime should be strict liability. However, if they are not, explain why intoxication is not an excuse, when much weaker factors are.

Posted by: David Behar | Jan 14, 2018 11:12:57 AM

Doug needs to start supporting my app. It contains a Mirandized consent to the sex act, required a password protect Facebook signing in. It comes along with an 18 page informed consent form. The app will not clear the sex act until it has been notarized, and then until a 3 day lawyer review period has passed. If the Miranda right is check off by the female, it will not clear the sex act until a lawyer has signed in and attested his presence during the sex act.

Posted by: David Behar | Jan 14, 2018 11:45:31 AM

Prof. Berman. For the next edition of your sentencing textbook.

The burning of 20 tubs of mail for 6 months.


If you are taking requests, you did not cover the sentencing of treason or of insurrection against the constitution. It will be an important topic in the future, after the arrest of the lawyer profession hierarchy.

Posted by: David Behar | Jan 14, 2018 2:14:53 PM

This extremely misguided action should fail. If it succeeds justice in America has been seriously harmed. This is the mob exactly vengeance for a perceived offense. This is exactly what the Founding Fathers feared most: the tyranny of the majority.

In the name of sex (offending, predation, "trafficking") the Constitution and the structure built up can be dismantled by the mob.

This will not turn out well.

Posted by: restless94110 | Jan 14, 2018 3:31:50 PM

I hope this recall is unsuccessful. California has a very weird sentencing scheme that most don't understand and there were flaws in it, but it seems the Judge followed his usual practices and went with the Probation department's recommendation. The Judge listened to the expert's here, which isn't a bad thing and he shouldn't be punished for it.

Posted by: Erik M | Jan 16, 2018 2:28:27 PM

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