Public outcry in the Stanford rape case has already sparked the creation of several petitions for an impeachment hearing against the judge who handed down a sentence of only six months in jail. While the success of those petitions are the result of a grassroots movement by everyday citizens, the Recall Judge Aaron Persky campaign is amping up their protest by adding three professional political consultants to their team to keep the signatures coming in and get the votes needed to send Persky packing.
Media consultant Joe Trippi, pollster Paul Maslin, and campaign strategist John Shallman boast impressive resumes, including Trippi’s previous work for Democratic presidential candidates, Maslin’s work with California Gov. Jerry Brown and members of Congress, and Shallman’s previous work with the California Senate on the “yes means yes” law in California, requiring college campuses to address the issues regarding consent on campuses.
After the conviction of former Stanford University swimmer Brock Turner, the sentencing and the remarks made by Judge Persky in his ruling have prompted over 1 million signatures on a Change.org petition and another 200,000 on a MoveOn.org petition calling for his removal from the bench, according to Vanity Fair. A White House petition has exceeded the 100,000 signatures required to prompt a response from the Oval Office, as well.
Turner was found guilty of sexual assault against an anonymous fellow student when she became unconscious due to alcohol use, assaulting her behind a dumpster on campus. Two other students discovered and stopped the attack, detaining Turner until police could arrive and arrest the former swimming star. With the conviction, Turner could have been sentenced to up to 14 years in jail on three different felony counts, and prosecutors had asked for a sentence of six years. Instead, Judge Persky sentenced Turner to only six months, and with good behavior, he can be released in three months.
The sentencing was controversial itself, but Persky’s explanation fueled the fire of public outcry.
“A prison sentence would have a severe impact on him.”
Since then, public outrage has boiled over with publication of the letter from Turner’s father about how unfair it was that his son was convicted for “20 minutes of action” and another letter from his mother that failed to even acknowledge the victim, who penned her own lengthy letter about the impact of the attack, which went viral. The case has left many fighting mad, including Stanford law professor Michele Dauber, who launched the campaign to recall Judge Persky, according to Fox News.
“His statements during the sentencing show that he does not understand sexual violence. He does not understand violence against women. And so we are going to recall him, and we’re going to replace him with someone who does.”
According to the Associated Press, Shallman seems to be taking this new position to recall Persky very personally.
“I have daughters in college myself, and I find it deeply disturbing that a judge like Persky could let a campus predator like Turner off with barely a slap on the wrist. Justice is supposed to be blind—not stupid.”
The case has become so controversial that Fox News reported that several prospective jurors for unrelated cases being heard by Judge Persky refused to serve, as an act of protest to his sentencing in the Turner case. That doesn’t bode well for Persky, as a recall election petition requires only 58,634 registered Santa Clara County voters to call for the judge’s removal from office. Some Democratic lawmakers are even asking for an investigation into possible misconduct in the sentencing of the Turner case, with Assemblywoman Susan Talamantes Eggman of Stockton calling out the double standard of alcohol as a factor.
“[R]ape culture blames us for being vulnerable when crimes are committed against us, but treats the same factors — drinking, in particular — as reasons to be exceedingly lenient with rapists.”
Because of the high-profile nature of the case, Turner is being segregated from the general jail population, which ensures he’ll be protected from any kind of sexual assault while he serves his time.
[AP Photo/Eric Risberg]