SAN JOSE — The fate of embattled Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky now rests in the hands of voters.
On Tuesday, the Registrar of Voters determined that organizers of a campaign to recall Persky had submitted more than enough valid signatures to qualify the recall for the June 5 ballot. The effort was spurred by the judge’s decision to sentence former Stanford University swimmer Brock Turner to six months in jail for sexually assaulting an intoxicated, unconscious woman outside a campus fraternity party two years ago.
“This historic campaign is part of a national social movement to end impunity for athletes and other privileged perpetrators of sexual assault and violence against women,” said Stanford Law School Professor Michele Dauber, the leader of the recall campaign.
“Judge Persky has a long history of bias in these cases and that is why so many voters signed the petition,” she continued. “It’s time for him to leave the bench and I am confident that in June the voters will agree.”
The recall campaign on Jan. 11 turned in nearly 95,000 signatures. Only 58,634 valid signatures were needed to qualify the recall.
If Persky is recalled, it would be the first time a California judge has been ousted in a recall election in 85 years.
Persky’s supporters argue that recalling the judge could put a chill on judicial independence.
Turner, who ended up serving only three months of his sentence because of a state law aimed at reducing jail overcrowding, has returned to his hometown in Ohio. Under California law, he also is required to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.
Persky has not commented to reporters, pointing to state rules that limit what judges can say during a political campaign.
Originally posted in The Mercury News by Jason Green. Read it here.