Recalling judges is not something that happens often. In fact, it is for the most part an unheard of occurrence in California. That was until Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky gave the former Stanford University swimmer a slap on the wrist last summer for sexually assaulting a fellow classmate. It is likely that you remember the case, the sentencing of Brock Turner sparked national outrage when Judge Persky handed the young man a six-month jail sentence for his crime.
As a result, lawmakers moved quickly to create new state laws for the handling of sexual assault cases. The passing of Assembly Bill 2888 placed mandatory prison sentences for those convicted of certain sexual assaults, specifically involving victims being unconscious or those incapable of giving consent while under the influence alcohol. The bills passing was hailed as a victory. And that hopefully will prevent similar occurrences in the future.
Brock Turner’s sentence led to some million Americans signing petitions for judicial review of Judge Persky, and to have the judge removed from his seat. Citizens were not satisfied when Judge Persky claimed that he was just following the letter of law. Sexual assault did not carry as stiff a punishment as rape convictions. This did not satisfy most people and the effort continued to recall Persky.
California history shows judicial recalls to be extremely rare, one in San Francisco in 1913 and another in Los Angeles in 1932, The Mercury News reports. A clear sign recalling judges is not something that is taken lightly. So, it may not come as a surprise for you to learn that at the end of last week a California judge ordered a temporary halt on efforts to gather signatures on petitions to get Persky’s recall on the June ballot. This comes in the wake of petitions being approved by Shannon Bushey, Santa Clara County’s registrar of voters, to begin the signature collecting process. But, Persky is not out of hot water yet.
“The recall is going forward no matter how much taxpayer money Judge Persky decides to waste on frivolous lawsuits,” said Stanford law professor and recall campaign chair, Michele Dauber. “He cannot stop this movement of women who are upset he doesn’t take sexual violence against women seriously.”
We will continue to follow this important case as developments come up. If you are in need of legal assistance, please contact the Office of Ronald G. Brower. For more than 30 years attorney Brower has been successfully defending the citizens of California.