Judge Aaron Persky has been criticized widely for what has been seen as his lenient sentence of former Stanford student Brock Turner, a now 20-year-old man convicted in the rape of an unconscious woman on the University's Palo Alto campus. Backlash against the jurist has been meaningful but symbolic, until now: Persky has been automatically disqualified from presiding over another case of sexual assault, the LA Times reports.
"[We] lack confidence that Judge Persky can fairly participate in this upcoming hearing, in which a male nurse sexually assaulted an anesthetized female patient," District Attorney Jeff Rosen said. "In the future, we will evaluate each case on its own merits and decide if we should use our legal right to ask for another judge in order to protect public safety and pursue justice.” The legal move, known as papering, might be seen as a warning to Persky or else as an informal reprimand of a sort.
KRON 4 reports that women’s rights advocacy group UltraViolet has submitted to the California Commission on Judicial Performance the removal 800,000 signatures demanding the Santa Clara County jurists' removal. A change.org petition with the same goal has garnered over 1.2 million signatures.
Persky cruised to re-election this month. To commence a recall election, campaign organizers must gather 58,634 signatures from Santa Clara County voters. “His statements during the sentencing show that he does not understand sexual violence. He does not understand violence against women,” Stanford law professor Michele Dauber, who headed up the recall campaign, told KRON4. “And so we are going to recall him, and we’re going to replace him with someone who does.”
Previously, the first juror in the Brock Turner Case to come forward to the press shared a letter he wrote to Persky. The sentence, the juror writes, "makes a mockery of the whole trial and the ability of the justice system to protect victims of assault and rape."