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Judge Persky Recall Efforts Resume

Posted by Seth Chazin | Sep 05, 2017 | 0 Comments

Brock Turner was charged with three counts of felony sexual assault. The Stanford University swimmer was sentenced to serve six months in the county jail for these felony sexual assault charges - Penal Code 261, and Penal Code 289, which many felt was unfairly lenient. The prosecution was seeking a six year prison sentence. Judge Aaron Persky explained his decision and said that the sentence was based on the recommendation of the probation department, and that the six month sentence would still severely impact Brock Turner.

Critics of Judge Persky have said that his rulings have historically been lenient towards male sex offenders, and a recall campaign has been started. In order to force a recall, a petition with a minimum number of 58,634 signatures must be submitted within 160 days.

On August 11, Persky's team filed a lawsuit to stop the petition, relying on the argument that such petitions needed to be submitted to state officials, not county officials. The leader of the recall campaign, Professor Michele Dauber at Stanford Law School, described the lawsuit as ‘gamesmanship and shenanigans'. However, the petition was stayed on a temporary basis.

Judge Kay Tsenin has since lifted the stay, so signature gathering can resume, though a final ruling has yet to be issued.

Elizabeth Pipkin, a lawyer for Persky has said that they are optimistic that their arguments will change this initial tentative ruling. The recall campaign is hopeful that Judge Tsenin will uphold the ruling.

The Brock Turner case has had a lasting impact on California sexual assault laws. Assembly Bill 701 has since been signed into law, stating that all forms of nonconsensual sexual assault may be considered to be rape for purposes of the gravity of the offense and the support of survivors.   Assembly Bill 2888 has also since become law, stating that there is a mandatory minimum prison sentence of three years for sexual assault of an unconscious or intoxicated person.

Further Reading


SF Gate: Petition gets go-ahead in effort to recall judge in Stanford sexual assault

Mercury News: Judge OKs resumption of recall Judge Persky petition drive

KTVU: Judge lifts temporary restraining order barring collection of Persky recall signatures

About the Author

Seth Chazin

Seth P. Chazin has aggressively defended clients in thousands of felony and misdemeanor cases for over 30 years. He has extensive experience representing criminal defendants in federal and state court, while handling both state and federal appeals as well.


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“The death penalty is a lie, a misguided mistake born of anger and frustration. Capital punishment has become a perverse monument to inequality, to how some lives matter and others do not. It is a violent example of how we protect and value the rich and abandon and devalue the poor. The death penalty is a grim, disturbing shadow formed by the legacy of racial apartheid and bias against the poor that condemns the disfavored among us, but corrupts us all. It’s the perverse symbol elected officials use to strengthen their ‘tough on crime’ reputations and distract us from confronting the causes of violence. It is finally the enemy of grace, redemption and all of us who recognize that each person is more than their worse act.”
- Bryan Stevenson