Multiple people called to serve as jurors in California are refusing to work under a judge who has been mired in controversy for handing down a six-month sentence to a man convicted of three sexual assault charges.
Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky on June 2 sentenced former Stanford University swimmer Brock Turner to six-months in county jail. Turner was convicted in March after attacking a woman behind a dumpster after a fraternity party on Stanford's campus last year.
At least 20 people refused Wednesday to serve as jurors in Persky's courtroom in an unrelated case, KPIX reported.
"I can't believe what you did," one potential juror told Persky, according to a report from the Bay Area News Group.
"I can't be here, I'm so upset," another possible juror said.
"In each case, the judge said, 'I understand,' thanked the prospective juror and excused her or him from duty," the Bay Area News Group reported.
Persky sentenced Turner to six months in jail followed by three years of probation based on the Santa Clara County Probation Department's pre-sentence investigation report, which recommended one year in county jail and probation. Turner will be required to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.
The sentence sparked nationwide outrage over what critics have called a too light sentence.
In a statement to the court, the unidentified victim expressed shock over Turner's sentence. She described waking up in a hospital to discover she had been assaulted and the toll the attack has taken on her life.
"You (Turner) made me a victim," she wrote. "In newspapers my name was 'unconscious intoxicated woman', ten syllables, and nothing more than that. For a while, I believed that that was all I was. I had to force myself to relearn my real name, my identity. To relearn that this is not all that I am. That I am not just a drunk victim at a frat party found behind a dumpster, while you are the All American swimmer at a top university, innocent until proven guilty, with so much at stake. I am a human being who has been irreversibly hurt, my life was put on hold for over a year, waiting to figure out if I was worth something."