The judge who handed convicted rapist Brock Turner a six-month sentence for sexual assault could soon lose his seat on the bench.
On Tuesday the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters announced in a press release that a campaign to recall Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky had enough valid signatures to qualify for a full vote on June 5.
The removal effort began in June 2017 and required 58,634 signatures within the 160-day period, ending this month. The petition received over 94,000 participants, the press release states.
The judge invited scrutiny following his sentencing of Turner, who was convicted of three felonies including assault with intent to commit rape of an intoxicated or unconscious person after assaulting a woman outside an off-campus Stanford fraternity party.
The victim, reading a letter she wrote to the judge during sentencing, implored him not to be lenient and described what she had to endure during the attack and the hourslong sexual assault forensic exam that followed.
But Persky was not moved and gave Turner only six months of the six year sentence prosecutors had requested.
The judge cited several factors that informed his decision: Turner's lack of criminal history, his age, the fact that he had already lost his swimming scholarship, and that he was intoxicated when the incident occurred.
"So I think there is - some weight should be given to the fact that a defendant who is, albeit voluntarily, intoxicated versus a defendant who commits an assault with intent to commit rape, a completely sober defendant, there is less moral culpability attached to the defendant who is legally intoxicated. That's as a comparative measure. But I don't attach very much weight to that," said Persky during sentencing.
Turner was released after serving just three months of his already-brief sentence due to overcrowding and good behavior.
Should Persky be recalled, it will be the first time in 85 years that a judge was removed from the bench in this manner.