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.