Judge cleared of misconduct in light sentencing of Brock Turner
No evidence that Aaron Persky displayed bias in giving six-month sentence to ex-Stanford student, which was decried as too lenient by critics, state agency said
A California agency that oversees judicial discipline in the state says a judge committed no misconduct when he sentenced former Stanford University swimmer Brock Turner to six months in jail for sexually assaulting a young woman on campus.
The California commission on judicial performance ruled on Monday that there was no evidence that Santa Clara County judge Aaron Persky displayed bias in handing down a sentence decried as too lenient by critics across the country.
The commission has concluded that there is not clear and convincing evidence of bias, abuse of authority, or other basis to conclude that Judge Persky engaged in judicial misconduct warranting discipline, the 11-member panel concluded in its unsigned ruling.
Turners case exploded on social media and ignited a debate about campus rape and the criminal justice system after the victims 7,200-word letter that she read in the courtroom during sentencing was published online.
The commission said it received thousands of complaints and petitions regarding Persky and the sentence.
The petitions included complaints that Persky displayed gender bias and failed to take sexual assault of women seriously, and showed favoritism to Turner because the judge was a former Stanford athlete as well.
The 21-year-old was released from jail in September after serving three months. He will be on probation for three years in his native Ohio and is a registered sex offender.
Persky is the target of a recall campaignlaunched by Stanford law professor Michele Landis Dauber, who said in a statement on Monday that the recall effort would continue.
This report simply highlights what we have been saying from the beginning, the statement read, which is that a petition for judicial discipline was not the correct venue to address these concerns, and the recall is the only realistic way to remove Judge Persky from office.
Judge Persky has a long record of failing to take violence against women seriously, and we will demonstrate that when we launch the campaign early next year, Dauber said.
Turner was convicted of assaulting the woman behind a dumpster after they drank heavily at a fraternity party. The woman had passed out and Turner was on top of her when confronted by two graduate students passing by on bicycles. They chased and tackled him when he tried to flee, holding him on the ground until police arrived.
A jury in March found Turner guilty of three felony sexual assault counts. Persky sentenced him to six months in jail, citing the extraordinary circumstances of Turners youth, clean criminal record and other considerations in departing from the minimum sentence of two years in prison. Prosecutors had argued for six years.
More details to follow