Published: Thu, June 07, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

California voters recall judge in Stanford rape case

California voters recall judge in Stanford rape case

Residents of Santa Clara county voted to recall Persky - the first California judge to be recalled since 1932. About 40% said he should keep his job.

But opponents of the recall warned that Tuesday's lopsided result - Persky lost by 20 points - is also a powerful political force where it shouldn't be: the courtroom. But voters chose to recall him in the culmination of a campaign that started shortly after his sentencing of Turner in 2016.

"You can call it", Cordell told CNN Wednesday.

"I expected some negative reaction".

County judges in California are elected, and if a petition to remove them from office garners enough signatures a vote will be held.

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Californians voted in a special election to unseat a state judge who drew worldwide condemnation for giving a six-month jail sentence to a Stanford University swimmer convicted of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman. The Bay Area women who led the grassroots campaign to remove the judge formed a Recall Persky coalition about two years ago and devoted thousands of hours to the cause, with Stanford professor Michele Dauber at the helm.

"We are thankful for our supporters and every person who donated their time; it truly made a difference", Dauber said.

One would think Persky did something horrendous to have warranted such a recall.

Persky's supporters said his removal set a unsafe precedent. "They should accept responsibility for rulings".

"It's very concerning if the recall become a normal tool for removing judges", NYU law school professor Alicia Bannon said. "Judge Persky is an elected official, and there is no such thing as an elected official who is independent of the voters".

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Persky declined to comment Tuesday and said repeatedly that he couldn't discuss the case because Turner has appealed his conviction.

The judge said he thought Mr. Turner would "not be a danger to others" and expressed concern that "a prison sentence would have a severe impact" on him.

Persky has repeatedly stated he has no regrets about his handling of the trial; he cited Turner's age, lack of prior criminal record, and the fact that both he (and more worringly) his victim were intoxicated as mitigating factors for the light sentence.

Critics immediately pounced and accused Persky of going easy on Turner because of his commonalities with the defendant. Persky referenced Turner's age and lack of criminal history in handing out only six months in jail, but that decision was widely criticized on social media and elsewhere, and a campaign began nearly immediately to recall Persky.

Efforts to recall Persky began in June past year; community leaders began gathering the signatures needed to force a recall election on Persky's position. "This was such an egregious crime", Kells said. Anyone who read the harrowing letter the Stanford victim recited to her attacker in court, and many who didn't, were appalled at the judge's staggering leniency. "I was terrified of it, I didn't know what had been in it, if it had been contaminated, who had touched it", she said.

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