Stanford Rape Judge Aaron Persky Cleared of Wrongdoing

An 11-member judiciary review panel in California has cleared Santa Clara County Judge Aaron Persky of misconduct in the June 2016 sentencing of Brock Turner in a sexual assault case.

The California commission on judicial performance ruled on Monday, Dec. 19, 2016, that there was insufficient evidence of bias or other judicial misconduct in the six-month jail sentence Persky pronounced for the former Stanford student-athlete, Brock Turner. In its unsigned ruling, the commission wrote:

“The commission has concluded that there is not clear and convincing evidence of bias, abuse of authority, or other basis to conclude that Judge Persky engaged in judicial misconduct warranting discipline.”

A recall campaign against Persky continues, led by Stanford law professor Michelle Landis Dauber, who released a statement to the press following the commission’s announcement:

“This report simply highlights what we have been saying from the beginning, which is that a petition for judicial discipline was not the correct venue to address these concerns, and the recall is the only realistic way to remove Judge Persky from office.

“Judge Persky has a long record of failing to take violence against women seriously, and we will demonstrate that when we launch the campaign early next year.”

The judicial performance review commission said it had received thousands of complaints and petitions regarding Persky and the sentence he pronounced on the then 20-year-old Brock Turner who was convicted on three counts of sexual assault on an unconscious woman.

The survivor of the assaults read aloud in court a 7,200-word victim’s impact statement, a statement that was later published on the internet and captured the attention of people throughout the United States.

Persky said at the time of Turner’s sentencing that a prison sentence would have a “severe impact” on the newly convicted sexual offender, citing both his age and clean criminal record as rationale for the light sentence despite the prosecution asking for a six-year prison sentence.

Turner served three months of his six-month sentence due to California law that allows jail time to be reduced for good behavior. Turner was released from jail in September 2016 and returned to his native state of Ohio to begin a three-year probationary period.

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