Differences of opinion are sharp over the recall vote Tuesday on Judge Aaron Persky, who two years ago sentenced Stanford University swimmer Brock Turner to six months in jail for assaulting a woman who lost consciousness after heavy drinking. Persky, 56, is the first California judge to face a recall vote in 80 years.
A campaign to recall a California judge for a lenient sentence in a high-profile sexual assault case has fractured long-term friendships, divided the liberal Democratic community of Santa Clara County and pitted feminists against feminists, the Los Angeles Times reports. Voters will decide Tuesday whether to recall Judge Aaron Persky, who two years ago sentenced Stanford University swimmer Brock Turner to six months in jail for assaulting a woman who lost consciousness after heavy drinking. Turner, 19 at the time, was convicted of three felonies: two for digitally penetrating an unconscious or intoxicated person and one for assault with intent to commit rape. He served three months and must register as a sex offender for life.
The sentence prompted a national uproar, coming at a time of heightened awareness of campus sex assaults and on the eve of the #MeToo movement. Persky, 56, is the first California judge to face a recall vote in 80 years. Emotions are so high that vandals have spray-painted over lawn signs opposed to the recall. The pro-recall signs display a photo of Persky next to Turner’s mug shot. The judge and the woman leading the campaign to oust him have received threats. Persky’s wife and Dr. Sophia Yen, one of the recall leaders, had been longtime friends, attended parties at each other’s homes and whose children played together. They no longer talk. Stanford law Prof. Michele Landis Dauber, a family friend of Turner’s victim, is the public face of the recall. She has long been an advocate for victims of sexual assault. Leaders on the other side include two female Santa Clara University law professors, the first black female judge in Northern California state courts and a former federal public defender. The legal community largely opposes the recall, calling it a threat to judicial independence.