please go to http://www.recallaaronpersky.com
This judge clearly needs to be impeached if he is not disciplined earlier and removed from the bench. The comments from the father are equally disgusting about rape and the kid should probably sue his father for raising him with highly questionable morals and ethics.
From an article on http://www.alm.com: additional comments in blue
Backlash Over Stanford Sexual Assault Case Sets Judges, Advocates on Edge
Brock, a former Stanford swimmer, was convicted of 3 counts of felony sexual assault on a 22-year-old young woman on the Stanford campus following a party on January 18, 2015. Brock was in court for his sentencing. (Dan Honda/Bay Area News Group)
If there is one thing that lawyers, legal academics and judges agree on about the Aaron Persky controversy, it is this: They’ve never seen anything like it.
Persky, a Santa Clara Superior Court judge, has served in relative obscurity for more than a decade. Now, his name is a Twitter hashtag, and the missives bearing it are laden with invective for his sentencing in the Stanford sexual assault case. Hundreds of thousands of people have signed online petitions calling for his ouster, and there’s also a serious effort underway to recall him. Court officials have also reported that he’s receiving death threats. The national news media has paid rapt attention to all of it.
Like Judge Gorcyca, he needs to be removed from the bench. I hope he is appearing under hashtag “impeachment”
It’s not the first time that a judge has been indicted by the court of public opinion. But the intensity and the head-spinning speed of the reaction to Persky’s sentencing of former Stanford swimmer Brock Turner to a six-month stint in the county jail instead of prison time is unique, observers say. It’s a perfect storm that the judge probably never saw coming: in one decision, he tapped into simmering nationwide angst over campus sexual assault, racial justice and class privilege. And social-media tools have allowed popular pushback on a level that the judicial branch has never before experienced.
To Persky’s harshest critics, the public rebuke is warranted and appropriate, given what they see as undue concern for Turner’s future and too little care for his victim. They see the signal his sentencing decision sends to young men and women on campuses as so dangerous and repugnant that regardless of his overall judicial record, he ought to be yanked off the bench. And to the extent that social media enables that effort, so much the better.But even among those people who disagree strongly with Persky’s sentencing decision, there is some deep discomfort about the idea that such potent public pressure can be brought to bear on an institution that is in some ways designed to be insulated from popular opinion.
To be discarded behind a dumpster like trash is the worst type of psychopathic act of all.
“If every judge who made a sentencing decision that people didn’t like were gone after, there wouldn’t be anybody sitting on the bench,” said LaDoris Cordell, who served as a judge for 20 years on the Santa Clara Superior Court and was also a vice provost at Stanford.
In an interview, Cordell said she favors the “sunshine” that social media puts on the court system—a sentiment echoed by others in the Bay Area legal community. She also said she believes that Persky’s sentencing of Turner, a white 20-year-old competitive swimmer raised in an affluent Ohio suburb, was tainted by the implicit bias of a judge who perhaps related too closely to the defendant before him.
If the defendant had been a poor black man from East Palo Alto, the outcome would almost certainly have been different, she said. “One of the nerves that this case has really hit is this whole issue of bias in the system.”
The California system is well known for its bias and unequal treatment of white Europeans and minorities from poorer countries.
But she also is uneasy with the way social media has enabled a massive, nationwide call to push out Persky. Cordell recalled an instance many years ago in which she gave a 15-year-old convicted of murder a lighter sentence than the prosecutors had sought. The district attorney’s office was angry, but the blowback was constrained to an article in the San Jose Mercury News, she said. “Today, it’s a whole different ballgame.”
THE MAKING OF A STORM
Turner, who is represented by Michael Armstrong, a solo practitioner who runs Peninsula Criminal Law in Redwood City, was convicted in March of sexually assaulting a 23-year-old woman who was unconscious behind a dumpster on campus. He was caught by two graduate students who detained him and called the police.
These two guys are hero. Do you know their names?
In sparing Turner time in a state prison, Persky cited factors like Turner’s background of high achievement, his lack of a criminal record, and the judge’s belief that Turner was unlikely to be a repeat offender. He also said that a prison term would have a severe impact on Turner, according to news reports and people in the courtroom.
“The message to women is, ‘You’re on your own, don’t call the police because the courts are not going to help you,’ ” said Michele Dauber, a law professor at Stanford who is leading the recall campaign against Persky. ” And the message to potential perpetrators is, ‘Don’t worry, we have your back.’ “ Perhaps the most powerful factor rocketing the case to the forefront of the American public conversation was the 12-page letter authored by the victim, known only as Emily Doe. The full text of the letter, which the victim read to Turner in court, was published by BuzzFeed the day after his sentencing. The letter, disturbing and visceral, recounts how she woke up in a hospital with pine needles in her hair and a sore vagina, being told that she had been attacked while out cold. The post has received millions of hits.
A statement by Turner’s father, which was tweeted out by Dauber, fanned the controversy by callously describing the attack as “20 minutes of action.”
Persky has come under such fire because of not only the light sentencing, but also because of the stated reasons for granting it. The DA’s office asked for Turner to be sentenced to six years in state prison, and the three felony charges that he was convicted of carry a minimum sentence of three years. Persky instead agreed with a probation officer’s report recommending six months in the county jail—which will more likely be three months, if Turner keeps out of trouble.
He should have received 8 to 10. She was bruised, beaten and left in a horrible,dangerous place.
Judges are required by law to explain their reasoning on the record when they hand down less than the minimum sentence, and the “unusual” or “mitigating” factors that warrant doing so. Among those Persky cited were the fact that Turner was drunk and didn’t have a criminal record.
Okay, drunk is better? BS
To Dauber and other critics, those are not unusual factors.
“We have alcohol being involved, and a high-achieving young man with a very long record of athletic and academic achievement. That’s every student at Stanford that you’ve just described,” she said. “That’s every campus sexual assault that occurs at Stanford, at Cal, and at all the other campuses around the state, if not the nation.”
In an editorial for Vox, Oakland public defender Rachel Marshall contended that Persky had seen Turner as someone who, because of his privileged background, didn’t “belong” in the prison system. She contrasted that with the clients she represents, who are poor and often people of color. “[W]hen they are convicted of a crime, a judge slams them for their lack of privilege, their inability to point to a string of successes,” she wrote.
Dauber is a family friend of the unidentified victim, and has been vocal on the issue of campus sexual assault since before the sentence was handed down. Her move to recall Persky was swift. Within days, she had raised $15,000 with the help of a Silicon Valley super PAC, retained a law firm specializing in ballot initiatives and referenda, and hired a pollster and a political adviser.
“This is not some sort of halfway, wacky thing where people who didn’t know what they were doing said, ‘We’re going to recall him. Let’s do Change.org,’ ” said Dauber, referring to the site where the online petitions against Persky have circulated. “ The people that I’m doing this with are heavy hitters. We’re doing this for a reason and we’re going to succeed.”
But her effort faces significant hurdles. It’s the citizens of Santa Clara County—not the masses of Twitter—who would have to petition to recall Persky. According to a spokeswoman for the Santa Clara County Voter Registrars office, it would take 58,634 signatures to initiate a recall for the judge. That’s 20 percent of the votes cast in the last judicial election.
Obviously this law needs to be changed.
Perhaps ironically, the Change.org petitions have also siphoned away some of the money and support that Dauber’s campaign otherwise might have gotten. She’s spent a lot of time trying to raise awareness of her campaign’s website (www.recallaaronpersky.com). “I keep getting these emails from people saying, ‘I signed the Change.org petition and I donated $50 dollars.’ And I’m like, ‘Oh, man that’s $50 we would have liked to have had.’ ”
U.S. District Judge Jeremy Fogel, who serves as director of the Federal Judicial Center in Washington, D.C., said there have been similar instances when judges have faced a popular backlash, but the outcry has tended to be slower moving, and more local.
“I don’t think anybody quite bargained for the intensity that social media has enabled,” he said.
Fogel, a longtime state and federal judge in the South Bay, made clear that he cannot comment on the Turner case in particular. However, he expressed concern that the potential for intense pushback on social media could spur judges to weigh public opinion more heavily before making a decision.
“Judges can’t be and shouldn’t be completely insensitive to public opinion, because that has the potential to undermine the legitimacy of the process itself,” Fogel said. ” At the same time, they have an ethical mandate to base their decisions on the facts and the law in each case, even if the end result in a given case may be unpopular.”
Others echo those worries. This week, the Minnesota-based International Academy of Trial Lawyers issued a statement that made no explicit reference to the Turner case, but condemned “ attacks on the independence of the judiciary on any basis or for any purpose.”
Cristina Arguedas, a Berkeley criminal defense attorney with a history of litigating high-profile criminal cases, said in an interview that the premise of the campaign to oust Persky—that his sentencing sends a bad signal to women on campuses across the U.S.—is wrong.
“The judge is sentencing a person in his court. He is not supposed to be sending a message to anyone,” said Arguedas, who added that she does not know Persky and has not appeared in his court. “He is supposed to be handling the case in front of him, based on the information he has, that the Twitter-verse does not have.”
Well that’s good news. Someone just has to explain to him that a rape and battering and leaving a woman in a horrible dangerous spot deserves 8 to 10. Come on, if some one can “talk” to the judge to get that idiotic slap on the wrist, the judge better be reading Twitter.
Mark Lemley, a professor at Stanford who specializes in intellectual property law, was among those in the local legal community who fired off a tweet backing recall efforts. “As a general matter I don’t like judicial elections, because I worry about judges ignoring the law to do what is politically popular,” Lemley said in an email. “But in this case the judge disregarded the law … because of his view that the rapist was not such a bad guy. The question is whether he has sent a signal that rape victims will not get fair treatment in his courtroom.”
Santa Clara Superior Court
Judge Aaron Persky
(photo by Jason Doiy)
Persky, a Democrat, former prosecutor and a Morrison & Foerster alum, has been on the Santa Clara bench since Gov. Gray Davis appointed him in 2003. Since handing down the sentence on June 3, he has received death threats and jurors appearing in his courtroom have refused to serve, according to news reports. And by the end of the week, at least three lawmakers had called on Persky to resign.
But Persky is not without his defenders. Retired Judge Susan Bernardini, who supervised the Santa Clara Superior Court’s family division while Persky served on it, defended his record as a judge—while steering clear of commenting on his decision in the Turner case.
“He is a hard-working jurist of the highest caliber,” Bernardini said in an interview.
She also took aim at the notion that any judge should be pulled off the bench because of one decision. “As soon as you start using a singular decision by a judge as a reason to recall a judge, you do exactly what my worst fear is, which is that judges will succumb to the corrupting influence of public opinion,” she said. “And then we’re done.”
The district attorney’s office, while publicly disagreeing with Persky’s decision, has said it does not believe he should be forced out. It’s also not going to mount a formal legal challenge of the sentencing he handed down, according to spokeswoman Cynthia Sumida.
“We don’t believe that we have a basis to appeal or seek a writ in this case, though, because his decision was authorized by law and was made by applying the correct standards,” she said.
A spokesman for the Santa Clara Superior Court said that because the conviction has been appealed by Turner, the judge is barred from commenting on the case.
Other observers point out that subjecting the courts to public opinion can cut both ways. Joshua Davis, director of the Center for Law and Ethics at the University of San Francisco, said he feels that Persky’s ruling was the wrong one. But he also noted that judges have been subject to similar kinds of pressure when trying to enforce things like desegregation. If social media carries the power to kick out a judge over a controversial decision, he said, “we might be nervous about that.”
From another article:
Meet the Stanford Law Prof Who’s Taking On Judge Aaron Persky
SAN FRANCISCO — Stanford University law professor Michele Dauber is serious about her effort to recall Aaron Persky, the Santa Clara Superior Court judge who handed down a six-month county jail sentence to a former student convicted on three felony sexual assault charges. She’s working with a super PAC called Progressive Women of Silicon Valley, has hired outside counsel, a political advisor, and a pollster, and has already raised $15,000. Dauber, an expert on campus sexual assault who helped revise Stanford’s policy, says she doesn’t believe Persky is guilty of misconduct. But she argues there are important reasons why he needs to be taken off the bench.
Q. You said you’re not making any allegations of judicial misconduct or anything of that nature. So why are you doing this?
The decision that Judge Persky made in this particular case has made all women at Stanford and in fact at other colleges in Santa Clara County, and perhaps across the state, less safe. Because it has exposed them to the risk that sexual assault will go unaddressed if it occurs on college campuses. It’s reduced incentives to report and it has failed to properly deter sexual assault on college campuses.
Q. What do we have as the basis for the so-called “unusual” case [warranting a lesser sentence]?
We have alcohol being involved, and a high-achieving young man with a very long record of athletic and academic achievement. That’s every student at Stanford that you’ve just described. That’s every campus sexual assault that occurs at Stanford, at Cal, and at all the other campuses around the state, if not the nation. … The message to women is, “You’re on your own, don’t call the police because the courts are not going to help you.” And the message to potential perpetrators is, “Don’t worry, we have your back.”
There are a lot of poor and black and brown kids who are serving time in the California penitentiary system who never sexually assaulted anybody. Who committed property crimes, who committed drug offenses. And the level of solicitude, and bending over backwards that Judge Persky exhibited towards this young man I think is really remarkable.
Q. Should judges always be subject to this kind of scrutiny and skepticism for the decisions that they hand down, or is it that this particular set of facts—this particular decision—is really so egregious that it really calls for action?
I think that the latter is true. I think this decision is so egregious that it deserves action. A recall campaign is not easy. It’s going to cost well over $500,000 and it’s going to be work. It’s not like I can just pick up the phone and say, “Recall him!” And then that happens.
In contrast to a federal district court judge, this judge is elected. He’s not appointed, he’s not confirmed by the Senate for life, he has to stand for reelection every term. And that is because the California legislature provides a role for the voters for these judges.
[Federal judges] are vetted by the office of the president, they are vetted by the [Justice Department’s] Office of Legal Counsel, they are vetted by the American Bar Association … Aaron Persky has been through none of that vetting. Basically anybody who wants to put their name into the ring can get one of these positions. [But] you’re talking about people who decide divorces and domestic violence cases, and things that matter a lot to women in their day-to-day lives.
Q. To what degree has social media had an impact on this effort?
I think Twitter, I think Facebook, I think social media definitely is moving the message. It’s also hurting the message in a sense because there are these giant Change.org petitions that have hundreds of thousands of signatures on them that have literally no legal relevance or significance.
I’ve spent a lot of time today trying to tell people [about] www.recallaaronpersky.com, and I’d appreciate it if you’d direct people to the correct address … I keep getting these emails from people saying, “I signed the Change.org petition and I donated $50 dollars.” And I’m like, “Oh man, that’s $50 dollars we would have liked to have had.”
Q. How long is this going to take?
As long as it takes … We’re going to move forward in an extremely professional, organized, deliberate, manner. This is not some sort of halfway, wacky thing where people who didn’t know what they were doing said, “We’re going to recall him. Let’s do Change.org.” The people that I’m doing this with are heavy hitters. We’re doing this for a reason and we’re going to succeed.