It's the case that manages to be both completely heartbreaking and massively infuriating: Twenty-year-old convicted rapist and former Stanford student-athlete Brock Turner received what his victim called a "soft time out" for his crime — a mere six months in jail plus probation.
To add more fuel to this garbage fire, it's been widely predicted that Turner will get off after just three months on "good behavior."
Much well-deserved internet ire has been directed at the case's presiding judge, Aaron Persky. Persky justified Turner's soft sentencing by claiming "a prison sentence would have a severe impact on him."
After the victim's statement that she read in court went viral, a rightfully pissed off woman named Maria Ruiz started a Change.Org petition to get the California State House to recall Aaron Persky.
Per the petition:
We the people would like to petition that Judge Aaron Persky be removed from his Judicial position for the lenient sentence he allowed in the Brock Turner rape case. Despite a unanimous guilty verdict, three felony convictions, the objections of 250 Stanford students, Jeff Rosen the district attorney for Santa Clara, as well as the deputy district attorney who likened Turner to "a predator searching for prey," Judge Persky allowed the lenient sentence suggested by the probation department. Turner has shown no remorse and plans to attempt to overturn his conviction.
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. Please help rectify this travesty to justice.*Emphasis ours, because YAS.
In just three days, the petition has garnered over 300,000 signatures, and has been shared all over social media.
But this isn't the first time Persky presided over a rape case that had a controversial outcome.
In 2011, Persky presided over a case in which a 17-year-old student alleged she was gang raped by the De Anza College basketball team. He allowed the defense to show the jury seven photos of the girl partying with friends a year or so after the assault, which showed her which showed her in fishnets and a garter belt.
According to Mercury News, the defense argued these photos showed a “’direct contradiction’ of plaintiff's claim that she is socially isolated and socially reticent.”
The victim lost.
While it's important that people are denouncing Persky's abhorrent actions, a representative from the California Secretary of State's office told Revelist that "Signatures collected via a change.org petition would not count towards an actual recall of a Superior Court Judge."
So, what can be done to alleviate the judge of his duties?
According to California state law, judges can be recalled. But they must first be subjected to an investigation conducted by the state's commission on judicial performance.
So can Aaron Persky be booted at long last? Yes. But not everyone's optimistic about the odds.
“I don’t believe there’s ever been a recall on a Superior Court judge in the state,” David Gould, a political consultant in California, told BuzzFeed News. “You’re entering very uncharted territory.”