NEW DETAILS: Recall effort started against judge in Brock Turner case

An effort to recall Judge Aaron Persky has started in California. He is the judge who handled the case of Brock Turner, a former Oakwood resident convicted of sex assault charges.
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An effort to recall Judge Aaron Persky has started in California. He is the judge who handled the case of Brock Turner, a former Oakwood resident convicted of sex assault charges.

Critics of Judge Aaron Persky — the California judge who sentenced former Oakwood resident Brock Turner to six months in jail on sex assault charges — filed paperwork this week to begin collecting signatures for a June 2018 recall.

Persky, a Santa Clara County Superior Court judge, is fighting back with his own campaign to retain his seat.

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Turner, who now lives in Greene County, was convicted last year of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman behind a dumpster outside a college party during his freshman year at Stanford University in 2015.

The former Oakwood High School swimmer’s sentence ignited fury across the nation that drew the attention of millions, including then-Vice President Joe Biden, who wrote a letter to the woman Turner assaulted.

Nearly a year since Turner’s release last September after serving half his sentence, California activists remain intent on unseating Persky, who continues to fight against the effort to remove him.

MORE: What led to Stanford assault?

On Monday, a notice of intent to begin collecting signatures in the recall effort was submitted to the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters. Fifty people in Santa Clara County signed the notice, including the city’s vice mayor.

Persky has until July 3 to file an optional answer to the notice, said Virginia Bloom, Santa Clara County Assistant Registrar of Voters. Proponents will then file a draft of their petition with the county voter registrar for approval prior to circulation, Bloom said.

Stanford Law Professor Michele Landis Dauber, a family friend of the victim who is leading the effort to remove Persky, in August said judicial independence is “an awesome power … and with it comes the responsibility to exercise that independence without bias.”

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In December, the California Commission on Judicial Performance “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.”

Persky continues to defend himself — albeit indirectly, as he is unable to comment on the case — on a website devoted to fighting the recall, retainjudgepersky.com.

“I took an oath to uphold the Constitution, not to appease politicians or ideologues,” Persky’s website states. “When your own rights and property are at stake, you want the judge to make a fair and lawful decision, free from political influence.”

“As a judge, I have heard thousands of cases. I have a reputation for being fair to both sides,” he said.

Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen is among those supportive of retaining Persky, according to the website.

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