Santa Clara County prosecutor Cindy Hendrickson has tested the stormy waters and is taking the plunge.
We’re talking about entering the turbulent race to replace Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky in a recall election expected to take place in June. She’s the first to announce.
Persky and his supporters are still hoping to derail the recall by persuading a state appellate court to take up the judge’s legal challenge. But it’s considered a long shot, especially since the state Attorney General’s Office has sided with proponents on election-process issues.
Meanwhile, recall advocates are breezing through the effort to gather 58,634 valid signatures. They’ve already collected more than 60,000, months before the early January deadline.
Hendrickson is emphasizing her diverse family upbringing and extensive career, including as a member of District Attorney Jeff Rosen‘s executive team.
Like other veteran prosecutors who have run for judge, Hendrickson would be eligible eventually to “double-dip,” meaning collect a sizable government pension in addition to the nearly $200,000 a year she would earn as a judge. Recent successful candidates Matt Harris, Stuart Scott and Julianne Sylva have all been transparent about it. Hendrickson declined to comment, saying she hasn’t thought about the financial implications.
Stanford law professor Michele Dauber and others are seeking to unseat Persky for giving former Stanford athlete Brock Turner what many considered a light sentence for sexually assaulting an unconscious, intoxicated woman outside a campus fraternity party and for what they claim is a pattern of bias in cases involving violence against women.
Turner’s six-month county jail sentence and the victim’s powerful statement ignited a national outcry, prompted new state laws in California, and touched off the ferocious recall movement, which forced Persky to stop hearing criminal cases.
Recall opponents note that Persky’s sentence in Turner’s case was lawful and followed a probation department recommendation. They also argue that a recall would threaten judicial independence. Ninety law professors and deans in California have signed a letter opposing the campaign.
Originally published in The Mercury News by Tracey Kaplan.
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