Stanford Sexual Assault Case Judge Removed From Criminal Court

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Kevin Daley Supreme Court correspondent
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Judge Aaron Persky, the Santa Clara Superior Court Judge who sentenced Stanford University swimmer Brock Turner to six months in jail for the sexual assault of an unconscious woman in 2015, has voluntarily removed himself from the court’s criminal division.

Effective Sept. 6, Persky will surrender his docket of criminal cases and take up a new post in the civil division.

“While I firmly believe in Judge Persky’s ability to serve in his current assignment, he has requested to be assigned to the civil division, in which he previously served,” Presiding Judge Rise Jones Pichon said of the reassignment. “Judge Perky believes the change will aid the public and the court by reducing the distractions that threaten to interfere with his ability to effectively discharge the duties of his current criminal assignment.”

The 20-year-old Turner was convicted of three felonies in March for the assault of an unconscious woman behind a dumpster after a party at the Kappa Alpha fraternity house near the Stanford campus. Persky sentenced Turner to a six-month jail term and three years of probation, fearing a “severe impact” would permanently impair the young student athlete.

The ensuing months have been tumultuous for Persky. At least 10 prospective jurors refused to serve in his courtroom during a trial in early June given his lenient treatment of Turner. Stanford Law professor Michele Dauber has also aligned with well-heeled California donors and political activists to remove Persky from office via a recall election. (RELATED: Meet The People Behind The Effort To Recall The Stanford Rape Case Judge)

“The issue of his judicial bias in favor of privileged defendants in sex crimes and domestic violence still needs to be addressed by the voters of Santa Clara County,” Dauber told The Associated Press. “In our opinion, Judge Persky is biased and should not be on the bench.”

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