The Sixth District Court of Appeal found "no constitutional basis on which to delay the processing of the current recall petition."
A state appellate court has turned back Santa Clara Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky’s bid to derail a June 5 election aimed at unseating him.
The Sixth District Court of Appeal on Monday found that the group collecting signatures petitioning for the recall vote were correct to submit them for review with the local county registrar’s office. Persky’s lawyers at McManis Faulkner had contended that as a trial judge, he is considered a “state officer” under the California Constitution, and therefore any petition to recall him should go through the Secretary of State's office.
“There is no provision in the California Constitution that defines “state officer" to include a superior court judge, either directly or implicitly, for purposes of the State’s recall procedure—or, for that matter, for all purposes, even while it is used in a variety
of contexts,” wrote Sixth District Justice Franklin Elia. “We, therefore, find no constitutional basis on which to delay the processing of the current recall petition.”
Elia’s unanimous opinion was joined by Justice Adrienne Grover and retired Justice Wendy Duffy, sitting by assignment.
Stanford Professor Michele Dauber, the chair of the Committee to Recall Judge Persky, said in a press release that the group was thankful the court rejected the judge's bid to stop the recall.
"His decision to appeal the original court decision is part of a long line of terrible decisions by Judge Persky, who seems to be putting his own personal, financial, and political interests ahead of that of the voters and taxpayers," she said. "We believe that the voters will ultimately decide to recall Judge Persky on June 5."
Persky, who now presides over civil matters, drew international attention when he sentenced ex-Stanford University swimmer Brock Turner to six months jail time for a sexual assault conviction. Perky's opponents in January turned in 94,527 signatures calling for a recall vote, nearly double the amount required to put the matter on the ballot for election this summer.
One of Persky's lawyer, Elizabeth Pipkin of McManis Faulkner said in an emailed statement that judges "should not have to be concerned about community opinion or social media hostility."
"Judges are officers of the court, and should be free to make thoughtful and independent rulings without fear of the sort of backlash that has been heaped on Judge Persky," she said.
Originally posted in The Recorder by Ross Todd. Read it here.