Judge Who Sentenced Stanford Sex Assault Convict to 6 Months in Prison Gets New 6-Year Term
Judge Aaron Persky, who made the controversial decision to sentence former Stanford University swimmer Brock Turner to six months in jail for sexually assaulting an unconscious woman outside of a frat party in January 2015, was given a new six-year judicial term on Tuesday.
Although Persky was up for re-election on Tuesday, voting was canceled because he had no challengers, according to USA Today.
Turner, 20, was found guilty on three felony sexual assault charges, each of which carries a minimum sentence of two years in prison. Prosecutors had asked that Turner be sentenced to six years, but he could serve as little as three months with good behavior.
Persky has faced intense backlash since his decision. A Change.org petition started earlier this week calling for Persky to be recalled from his position has garnered over 570,000 signatures.
The petition states, “Judge Persky failed to see that the fact that Brock Turner is a white male star athlete at a prestigious university does not entitle him to leniency. He also failed to send the message that sexual assault is against the law regardless of social class, race, gender or other factors.”
Stanford law professor Michele Dauber told USA Today she believes Persky won’t complete his term.
“His victory will be short-lived,” Dauber said. “I am 100 percent confident we will recall him. His decision hit every woman in the state of California in the gut.”
“His ruling was dangerous and wrongheaded,” Dauber added. “We need to replace him with someone who understands violence against women.”
Dauber has also started a formal recall website, which drew $8,000 in donations in eight hours.
Persky stated that he feared a longer sentence would have a “severe impact on [Turner],” CNN reported.
Persky is a former Stanford athlete, which some critics believe made him sympathetic to Turner.
A letter to the judge written by Turner’s father, Dan Turner, ahead of sentencing, has also drawn backlash.
“These verdicts have broken and shattered him and our family in so many ways,” Dan Turner wrote, asking the judge to forego a prison sentence in favor of probation. “His life will never be the one he dreamed about and worked so hard to achieve. This is a steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action out of his 20 plus years of life.”
Turner’s victim told Buzzfeed she is unhappy with the “gentle” sentence, but still hopes it will “wake people up.”
“I want the judge to know that he ignited a tiny fire. If anything, this is a reason for all of us to speak louder.”