After Stanford Rape Case, Judge Aaron Persky To Stop Hearing Criminal Cases Due To Outcry Over Brock Turner Judgement – Plans Move To Civil Court

On Thursday, a California court advised that Judge Aaron Persky, who caused national outcry after handing ex-Stanford student Brock Turner a “ridiculously lenient” sentence after he was convicted of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman, will no longer be hearing criminal cases and will instead be moved to the civil division – at his own request.

Reports state that the decision to reassign the Santa Clara County judge from criminal cases is a request which Judge Persky made himself after the backlash he received for the slap on the wrist conviction of just six months in jail he had given to Brock Turner. The details of the Stanford rape case showed that the two students who found Turner assaulting the unconscious woman had to get very aggressive in order to simply get him to stop, chasing and tackling him when he did eventually try to get away.

The letter the 23-year-old victim wrote to Brock Turner of the trauma he has caused in her life is another reason that states that the public was so outraged over the extraordinarily lenient sentence Judge Persky handed the former Stanford swimmer. The University did drop the student due to his crimes though.

Santa Clara County Presiding Judge Rise Pichon granted Persky’s request even though she gave a statement that she had confidence that the judge was competent enough to have continued presiding in his previous capacity. Despite the public outcry, the sitting judge stated that she would not be transferring judge Persky out of Palo Alto.

“While I firmly believe in Judge Persky’s ability to serve in his current assignment, he has requested to be assigned to the civil division, in which he previously served. Judge Persky believes the change will aid the public and the court by reducing the distractions that threaten to interfere with his ability to effectively discharge the duties of his current criminal assignment.”

According to Pichon, Judge Persky being reassigned from criminal cases is a move which will become effective on September 6.

The fact that Judge Aaron Persky had made his decision regarding the Stanford Rape case in an effort to protect the rapist and not the victim is the strongest motivator for the backlash against him. Persky had claimed that Brock Turner deserved the light terms as “a prison sentence would have a severe impact on him,” and Persky did not believe that Turner would be “a danger to others.”

His words still offend many today, and since early June he has been the subject of a recall campaign which aims to have him removed him from his seat as a judge entirely. Stanford law professor Michele Dauber is one of the critics who have vowed to remove Persky from the bench and, according to The Mercury News, is pushing for a recall election to be done in November 2017 while other individuals have been complaining to the state agency based on his judicial performance. Dauber has stated that the fact that Persky has been reassigned away from criminal cases will not stop her efforts to have him recalled when election time comes.

“This doesn’t change anything. We’re pleased he won’t be handling criminal matters, at least for the time being, but he can transfer back… He will still be a judge, and judges rotate annually in our county. In our opinion, Judge Persky is biased and should not be on the bench, so the issue of his bias still needs to be decided by voters.”

There is no permanency in this new assignment to civil cases as judicial assignments actually rotate each year and must be approved by the judge presiding. Once September 6 arrives, Persky will once more be hearing civil cases as he returns to the Old Courthouse near St. James Park in downtown San Jose. Judge Vincent J. Chiarello, who has the bonus of living close to the Palo Alto courthouse will switch places with Persky once the assigned date arrives. Until that time arrives though, Judge Aaron Persky will continue to carry out his duties by presiding over criminal cases in Palo Alto.

An attempt was made to contact judge Persky but he could not immediately be reached for comment.

[Photo by Eric Risberg/AP Images]

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