Judge Aaron Persky presided over the assault trial involving former Stanford swimmer and now convicted rapist Brock Turner two years ago, and the sentence he gave Turner caused outrage across the country. Now, voters in California had the opportunity to end his time as a judge, and the results look as if he will be stepping down.
CNN reports that the votes are still being tabulated, but with 81 percent of the votes in at this point, 59.6 percent have voted to replace Judge Aaron Persky. So far, nearly 161,000 votes have been counted and almost 96,000 have voted against keeping Persky with about 65,000 wanting him to stay. While the totals certainly could shift some before they are finalized, it would appear to be unlikely that the California judge will prevail in this case, and some media outlets have called it in favor of the recall.
As Fox News details, the Persky recall has been in the works since he sentenced Brock Turner in June 2016. The issue was that he sentenced Turner to just six months in jail while prosecutors had fought for a seven-year sentence. The judge maintained that he had issued a six-month sentence in accordance with a county probation department recommendation.
At the time of the sentencing, Persky gave a lengthy statement detailing his decision and reasoning. The Guardian shared the text of the statement where the California judge noted that he was inclined to give Turner probation, and he believed that Brock faced “severe” collateral consequences from receiving a felony conviction.
In his statement, Persky quoted some of what Turner’s victim, “Jane,” wrote in a letter to the court that was later shared by Buzzfeed. The judge said that Jane had made good points but that the impact statements shared that were positive toward Brock were important too. In addition, Persky said that he did not consider Turner to be a danger to others if he were not imprisoned.
Persky’s critics felt that he was inappropriately sympathetic to Turner, who was found guilty of three felonies. Brock faced up to 14 years in jail for the assault, and he was ultimately released after three months. Even after all of the backlash, Persky has said he would handle things the same way if he were to do it all over again.
Judge Aaron Persky and his supporters believe that the recall action is unfair and threatens the independence of judges across the nation. However, it looks as if California voters feel differently. Assistant District Attorney Cindy Hendrickson will reportedly serve as judge for the remaining four years of Persky’s term.