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Persky's recall: a loss for our nation's judicial system

Uploaded: Jun 6, 2018
Emotionalism won; judicial understanding lost. By a 60-40 margin, Judge Aaron Persky was recalled from office Tuesday. That is an unfortunate loss for our judicial system in this country. It was the first recall of a California judge in 86 years.

One would think Persky did something horrendous to have warranted such a recall. He didn’t. No misconduct or malfeasance by him, no illegalities, just one unpopular decision during his years as a judge. In fact what he did was legal, and backed up by nearly 100 law professors in this state.

Except Stanford Law Professor Michelle Dauber, who alone started this recall. She was able to fire up the emotions of many (especially women) who felt Persky’s six-month jail sentence of Stanford student Brock Turner was too light and the judge should be punished for treating a sexual assault so leniently. No matter that Turner will be legally regarded as a sexual offender for the rest of his life, and not only have to frequently report to the local sheriff wherever he lives, but also have restrictions on where he can live.

No, that didn’t seem to matter to supporters of the recall. To them, Persky became a symbol of all sexual offenders who mistreat women, and also all the males in the legal system who have been too dismissive of sexual crimes against women. Dauber also proclaimed that Persky has been too lenient in other cases, but when the four she mentioned are examined, her charge did not stand up. Nevertheless, Dauber’s recall won, and she won name recognition. The state’s Commission on Judicial Performance said there was no pattern of bias or misconduct by Persky.

When I traveled last month and met a number people from other states, particularly Massachusetts, New York and D.C., many were very aware of the Persky case. Two were judges and said many judges in their states were closely watching the outcome of the recall.

So this recall will affect the judicial system in our country. Consciously or unconsciously, judges will become very aware (as in “Could I be recalled, too?”) of whether their sentences will be judged as too lenient – not only in sex cases but also in those where public sympathy or outrage could easily become an issue. I am certain judges in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties already have their fingers in the wind, testing public opinion.

The recall is a mistake. Sure, Persky lost his job, and I am sad about that. But what bothers me even more is the long-term effect this recall will have on future court sentencing.

Comments

 +   60 people like this
Posted by Revenge, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Jun 6, 2018 at 12:35 pm

Thanks, Diana, for a well written column. Dauber was clearly out for revenge and it looks like she got it.Too bad.
What I find very disturbing is the actions of the Weekly. There editorial supported the recall and mentioned the "pattern" of rulings by Persky. Yet they published an article with an in depth analysis of the 5 cases that the pro-recaqll people cherry picked to show Persky's "bias". Yet their own article clearly showed that there was no basis for the claims of made by the pro-recall gang (the Daily Post also did an article and reached the same conclusion). So why did they not retract their editorial? Clearly this an example of poor journalism (but if you have followed the weekly over the years, you know they have always displayed a pro-Dauber bias).


 +   38 people like this
Posted by JW, a resident of Palo Alto Hills,
on Jun 6, 2018 at 12:36 pm

I am truly shocked that a seemingly educated woman would have such a response to this. The judge made a VERY clearly awful decision in this case - one that should absolutely end his career. It's an abuse of power and this response article reeks of complicity. Good riddance to Persky and any judge who would duplicate his egregious error in judgement. Our judicial system needs to do a better job of protecting our youth.


 +   28 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon, a resident of Downtown North,
on Jun 6, 2018 at 12:56 pm

"No matter that Turner will be legally regarded as a sexual offender for the rest of his life, and not only have to frequently report to the local sheriff wherever he lives, but also have restrictions on where he can live."

Seems awful enough on the face of it, but a court can rescind the onus at any time. But an X-year prison (not county jail) sentence would teach a definite lifelong lesson.

Turner blew it. Then Persky blew it egregiously. That's the message.


 +   36 people like this
Posted by Dilettante, a resident of Greenmeadow,
on Jun 6, 2018 at 1:05 pm

Dilettante is a registered user.

Diana Diamond, thank you for this thoughtful article.

The recall of Judge Persky is a very de-democratizing outcome stemming from a sad, misunderstood case.


 +   25 people like this
Posted by hey you, a resident of Greendell/Walnut Grove,
on Jun 6, 2018 at 2:09 pm

Nonsense. One case could have been an aberration, two is a pattern, Persky made it a habit of letting off well-connected white men at the expense of their victims. That is definitely malfeasance.

Nobody complained about democracy being subverted when voters elected Persky in, ie, he had to answer to us then, too. Our system was set up precisely to allow us to, if need be, rid ourselves of those making egregious decisions while having power over our lives.

We who voted for the recall protected the high schooler at Gunn who was recently raped at gunpoint while jogging: can you imagine her horror if she'd found out her rapist was going to have Persky as the judge? That won't happen now. We the 60% told her we are there for her in her pain.

You didn't even get the basic facts right about the years since the previous recall: remember Rose Bird?


 +   42 people like this
Posted by Revenge, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Jun 6, 2018 at 2:24 pm

"One case could have been an aberration, two is a pattern, Persky made it a habit of letting off well-connected white men at the expense of their victims. That is definitely malfeasance. "

The above is one of the lies perpetuated by Dauber and the recall campaign.
even the weekly, who editorialzied in favor of the recall showed that this claim is false:
Web Link


 +   26 people like this
Posted by hey you, a resident of Greendell/Walnut Grove,
on Jun 6, 2018 at 2:30 pm

We can disagree on that one. I submit that Persky's decision in the Brock Turner case alone was enough to warrant the recall. The voters agreed: he needed to go.


 +   30 people like this
Posted by Paulette Altmaier, a resident of another community,
on Jun 6, 2018 at 3:09 pm

If "judicial independence" means that judges are to be free to let sexual assault offenders off with a slap on the wrist - then no, we don't want that, thank you very much.
We want judges who deliver justice. Rape cases are VERY hard to win, because there is so rarely a witness. By treating this vile assault as a minor offense, Persky created a grave injustice.
I am thrilled to learn that judges nationally will be looking over their shoulders now. Good - we want ALL of them to take rape and sexual assault seriously.


 +   19 people like this
Posted by Miscarriage, a resident of Downtown North,
on Jun 6, 2018 at 3:23 pm

Persky followed established procedure and the recommendation of the probation defendant. [Portion removed.]


 +   25 people like this
Posted by hey you, a resident of Greendell/Walnut Grove,
on Jun 6, 2018 at 3:28 pm

Demonizing Michelle Dauber, the Stanford law professor who objected to the conduct of Judge Persky, denigrates everyone who agrees with her. You seem to think she single-handedly pulled this off. She did not. There are many of us in the community who followed the case closely, who read the victim's statement, who saw Persky ignore the prosecutor's recommendation, who watched as the state legislature rushed to close the holes in the law Persky had allowed Turner's defense attorney to use, and who said, collectively, No more. Not in our name.

Even those of us, and there are many of us, who weren't paying much attention to, wait for it, Michelle Dauber.


 +   11 people like this
Posted by DT, a resident of Barron Park,
on Jun 6, 2018 at 3:49 pm

To the guy who said a previous poster should get their facts right, um, Rose Bird wasn't recalled. She didn't win re-election. Get your facts right.


 +   37 people like this
Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Jun 6, 2018 at 4:01 pm

There were dirty tricks aplenty in this from the beginning. From the misinformation campaign to the hassle of Safeway customers to sign the petition, this was not a show of support for women but a rally by a feminist law professor who has never even practiced law herself. Is this really the way that we want democracy to work?


 +   32 people like this
Posted by DianaDiamond, a resident of Midtown,
on Jun 6, 2018 at 4:10 pm

DianaDiamond is a registered user.

"If 'judicial independence' means that judges are to be free to let sexual assault offenders off with a slap on the wrist - then no, we don't want that, thank you very much." (earlier post)

Judicial independence means that judges need to make decisions and determine sentences based on the defendant's previous criminal record, the circumstances surrounding the crime, the legal issues involved, the sentence and its related outcomes (such as being an official sexual offender and needing to carry that label and its penalties for a lifetime), and the severity of the crime.

Judicial independence covers all judges' sentences, not just on sexual offenses. If, for example, community sentiment is that using a gun is okay in certain circumstances and a judge believes the defendant really meant to kill a person, then the judge should be able to independently decide, and not worry about the gun lovers in his community. Or if community sentiment is that all marijuana drug offenders should spend years in jail in court, and the judge feels that the punishment outweighs the crime, the judge should be able to sentence based on his knowledge and experience.


 +   19 people like this
Posted by Old Steve, a resident of St. Claire Gardens,
on Jun 6, 2018 at 4:14 pm

Old Steve is a registered user.

Folks, We just 100% reelected our District Attorney, who disagreed with the recall effort. I suspect our incarceration rates will now go up, rather than down. As more judges stiffen sentences beyond probation department recommendations, probation recommendations will also stiffen. Good luck trying to limit tougher sentences only in cases of sexual misconduct and assault. We've sent our judicial system off on a fool's errand. Best of luck to our reelected DA and our new Judge!


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by hey you, a resident of Greendell/Walnut Grove,
on Jun 6, 2018 at 4:30 pm

To DT: my apologies. You are correct on Rose Bird, my memory was mistaken.


 +   17 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon, a resident of Downtown North,
on Jun 6, 2018 at 5:54 pm

Judicial independence is incompatible with an elected judiciary, which is our system here. Persky's recall is equivalent to his being defeated in a re-election bid, but timely and more emphatic.

Community expectations change. Our judiciary must keep pace. Rape isn't excused as boys being boys anymore, not even for star athletes. Judges and their apologists should quit whining and take notice of this statement of community standards that was unfortunately necessitated by Persky's action.


 +   29 people like this
Posted by Abitarian, a resident of Downtown North,
on Jun 6, 2018 at 7:09 pm

Whoa, Diana, you go too far in painting recall supporters with the broad brush of emotionalism. Surely, there were a variety of reasons that led people to support or oppose the recall.

The bottom line is that Mr. Persky is, or was, an elected official. As such, he is subject to the will and whim of the people. Essentially, the recall simply changed the date when Mr. Persky faced the voters from 2022 to 2018.

Perhaps doing away with periodic elections and moving to lifetime appointments would enable more purity in terms of judicial independence. Then again, maybe not, considering the partisan politics at play during the most recent US Supreme Court replacement.

How best to achieve justice independence is a serious and complex question. Unfortunately, Ms. Diamond's characterization of recall opponents as illogical idiots swayed by Michelle Dauber's svengali-like ways does nothing to further our understanding.


 +   39 people like this
Posted by Common sense, a resident of Old Mountain View,
on Jun 6, 2018 at 7:39 pm

Common sense is a registered user.

Thanks Diana for this clear-headed, reasoned, even courageous post (it invited, and has already received, attacks from the emotional voter contingent). At first, outraged by the light sentence, I too wanted to "throw the bum out." Until I learned more.

Everyone who's looked seriously at this case knows:

1. The law was changed after the Turner verdict (so, similar sentencing wouldn't recur anyway).

2. The court's other judges explained they all would have given the same sentence, under the guidelines then in place! (So recalling Persky is futile, he's punished for the action any judge would've taken in that court.)

3. Michelle Dauber (not a Californa attorney) selected a few Persky cases from 2000, and proclaimed a "pattern of bias" -- way out of line. (LaDoris Cordell pointed out that any judge, Cordell herself, could be misrepresented thay way, by cherry-picking case examples; Cordell went further in an interview I heard, characterizing Dauber's assertions about Persky as going beyond distortions to lies).

I've seen several people rationalize the recall by citing such a "pattern." To my knowledge, every one of those people is wrong -- none reviewed Persky's 2000 cases, they just accepted Dauber's demagoguery unquestioned.

The more people learned, the more they realized it made no sense to single out Persky for a verdict effectively inevitable under the existing guidelines. Support for recall fell as the election neared (the Daily Post followed that). Reason was overcoming emotion. But not everyone figured that out (a fact some are now at pains to demonstrate, in online comments).


 +   121 people like this
Posted by Reader, a resident of another community,
on Jun 6, 2018 at 8:15 pm

Persky's recall is a victory for the people. Jurists have to to accountable for their actions and the people have made this clear.

Persky's career as a public servant is over.

Jeff Rosen's days as a publicly elected official are numbered. He will not be re-elected and any aspirations he had for a higher political office are *OVER*.

As they say in baseball, you have been designated for re-assignment. Make a bad decision on the mound? Well, maybe you shouldn't be playing in the majors.

[Portion removed.]


 +   13 people like this
Posted by Janice, a resident of another community,
on Jun 6, 2018 at 8:50 pm

A Stockton man plead guilt to sexual assault of a 5 year old girl and got a 90 day sentence. As the article states, he is a wealthy individual.

Perhaps the California Bar Association needs to review all judgements in rape cases to determine if there is a pattern of bias based on wealth, race, defendant's gender,private attorney's representing the defendant vs. Public ones, and commonality between the judge/defendant/defendant's attorney (such as attending same school, living in the same community).

Brock Turner is appealing his conviction. I guess most people who had the financial means would do this. The travesty is not that Michelle Dauber got a recall on the ballet and ousted Persky. The real travesty is that justice is not blind when it comes to treating rich defendants as it would someone who did not have the means for a private attorney and the respectability that is bought with money.

Web Link

Web Link


 +   48 people like this
Posted by CrescentParkAnon., a resident of Crescent Park,
on Jun 7, 2018 at 3:18 am

> To them, Persky became a symbol of all sexual offenders who mistreat women,
> and also all the males in the legal system who have been too dismissive
> of sexual crimes against women.

Diana Diamond says this like it is the fault of the people or the victims ... hardly, the blame for that rests squarely on Persky's shoulders who got to automatic and lax in his blase attitude towards never being questioned. Democracy's function is partly to instill a fear of the people in the government, and in this recall is one of the few democratic successes of late. Think about how we have highborn sexual predators who resent having to pay a price for so few moments of action, as the defendant's father put it, while similiar perpetrators languish in prison and never can recover their lives. Or the institutionalize dichotomy between cocaine and crack.

No hours long traffic jams, no torches, no pitchforks, no smashed windows or burning fires .... just a vote of informed people that the establishment wants to mischaracterize as out of control because it seeks absolute freedom to do whatever it wants for its own reasons. The message is that needs to stop. We need more democracy not less. How did our country and locality come to fear democracy so much that it deploys so much power to reign it in?


 +   14 people like this
Posted by Another, a resident of Adobe-Meadow,
on Jun 7, 2018 at 8:53 am

Another is a registered user.

Diamond and other opponents of the recall dishonestly characterize the recall effort as stemming only from the Brock Turner decision. In reality, Persky made a series of decisions where he showed a pattern of extreme leniency toward male sex offenders. One of many articles that document this: Web Link.

Persky is an outlier, a judge who undermined our justice system repeatedly by giving slaps on the wrists to convicted sexual offenders. He was a uniquely bad judge, and these kinds of recalls will remain extremely rare because fortunately, judges this bad are extremely rare.

The large margin by which the recall won demonstrates that Santa Clara County voters understood that Perky's serial miscarriage of justice could not be tolerated. Bravo to the Recall Persky team for their tireless efforts and to our fellow citizens for making the right decision.


 +   30 people like this
Posted by Common sense, a resident of Old Mountain View,
on Jun 7, 2018 at 9:34 am

Common sense is a registered user.

Once again (from "Another") comes the long-discredited rationalization about a "pattern" of lenient sentences. Already dealt with in my comment #3 above, that artificial complaint originated with Michelle Dauber, who selected a handful of cases from thousands where Persky officiated. As another judge explained, this cherry-picking gimmick could falsely paint any judge as "biased" or an "outlier" (and even then, some of Dauber's cherry-picked sentencing examples have been separately discredited as resulting from plea bargains, not even Judge Persky's decisions).

As long as people keep taking tendentious claims like that at face value, not examining them searchingly or understanding the real picture, we'll continue seeing these rationalizations for what amounts finally to a formalized, legal lynch mob.

By the way, Diana: Comment above by "Reader" will have introduced you (if it wasn't already familiar) to the gambit, common on these pages, of people whose comments appear and instantly show (in this example) 90 "likes," generated artificially by the comment's writer.


 +   11 people like this
Posted by Another, a resident of Adobe-Meadow,
on Jun 7, 2018 at 10:07 am

Another is a registered user.

Common Sense,

The point is that Persky showed a pattern of extreme leniency *in cases involving sexual assault*. If he presided over 2000 other cases involving completely different sorts of crimes, those are not relevant to his record regarding convicted sex offenders.

To say that it's "cherry picking" to focus on Perksy's track record in sex offense cases and not on whatever he might have decided in cases of, say, jaywalking, you're making a very misleading argument.

Fortunately, the voters understood the seriousness of Persky's behavior and voted to recall him by a solid 59% to 41% margin. Or are you saying that the voters were ignorant and were unable to understand the issue?


 +   33 people like this
Posted by 100% Correct, a resident of Adobe-Meadow,
on Jun 7, 2018 at 10:18 am

People should be ashamed. I'm totally isgusted with the mob mentality.
Why didn't they try and go after the probation officer who RECOMMENDED THE SENTENCE TO THE JUDGE?

Can someone tell me why SHE is free to continue to perpetuate this so called rape culture with her recommendations?


 +   19 people like this
Posted by Revenge, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Jun 7, 2018 at 10:27 am

ANother-- wrong. wrong. wrong. You are just parrotting the bogus talking points of the recall campaign.
The weekly and the Daily Post did an analysis of the cherry picked cases.
Web Link
It is clear that there was no pattern of extreme leniency. It is unfortunate that the voters did not look into the hysteria being spread by dauber et al.
Oh, and Persky would not have heard jaywalking cases.


 +   9 people like this
Posted by Another, a resident of Adobe-Meadow,
on Jun 7, 2018 at 10:46 am

Another is a registered user.

Revenge, the article you provide the link to says the following:

" He pleaded no contest to the felony domestic violence charge on May 26, 2015. Because Gunderson planned to attend college and play football in Hawaii, Persky deferred his sentence to July 2016, requiring Gunderson to return with proof that he had attended at least one Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous meeting per week and completed a 52-week domestic violence program in Hawaii.

Persky agreed to reduce his felony to a misdemeanor upon completion of these terms, according to court transcripts. Gunderson would then be placed on three years of probation. Persky scheduled a progress hearing for December 2015 and excused Gunderson from appearing, allowing him to instead send a signed progress report, according to the court transcript.

After Gunderson failed to attend all of his required AA meetings, Persky sentenced Gunderson on March 10, 2016, to four months in county jail, three years of probation, completion of a certified domestic violence program and payments to a battered women's shelter and domestic violence fund, among other fees. Persky agreed to defer Gunderson's surrender date to June 1 so Gunderson could finish the school year in Hawaii, the court transcript states. "

I think most people reading this would conclude that Persky again showed leniency toward a male college athlete convicted of assaulting a woman. I'm not sure why you cite this article as evidence that Persky was unfairly maligned.

The voters had all of the information, and they did the right thing on Tuesday.


 +   10 people like this
Posted by Revenge, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Jun 7, 2018 at 10:57 am

Another--and like the recall campaign, you cherry pick portions you think make your case.
The article further states :
Was it unusual to defer Gunderson's sentencing for more than a year? It was not unprecedented, according to the district attorney's office. In most domestic violence cases, the sentencing occurs within a month or two of the plea, but it is within judge's discretion "to schedule sentencing based on the circumstances unique to a particular case or defendant," the DA's office wrote in emails released under the California Public Records Act. Judges may delay sentencing to avoid collateral consequences, such as on schooling or employment. "The sentence imposed in this case was not unusual," the DA's office stated, while the timing was "unusual, but not unprecedented."


 +   12 people like this
Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Jun 7, 2018 at 11:19 am

Having discussed this with many people the assumption is that if I disagree with the recall then I support Turner.

That is most definitely not the case. Rape is never something that deserves compassion or leniency even in cases of drunk young people with bright futures.

However, my point of view is as valid as anyone else's opinion. I see it that the law was upheld and sentenced in line with the law at the time of the trial. I tend to agree that 3 months is too lenient but I also know what a lifetime of sex offender registrations will do to this young man. His name will always be linked to this crime and his future will be nothing compared to what it could have been. The victim will also carry with her the memories of this trauma and her life will be affected even though her name is not connected.

The law has been changed. I think it was at fault in this case. Other judges both active and retired felt that Persky was well within the parameters of what they themselves would have sentenced with the law as it stood at the time. The fact that the law has now been changed shows that in a situation when the law is at fault it should be changed. Laws are not written in stone and laws change all the time. It is not the duty of a sitting judge to work outside the law. If the public feel that a law is wrong, too lenient or not in line with what the public feels should be right, then the public have a duty to make lawmakers change the laws. This is not the fault of the judge, but the lawmakers who formed the law at the time.

Now that I have said my piece, I feel better. Thank you to those who read my opinion.


 +   25 people like this
Posted by Annette, a resident of College Terrace,
on Jun 7, 2018 at 11:28 am

Annette is a registered user.

Diana Diamond: thank you. I agree. Our society is angry - and in this case reacting in a way that makes things worse rather than better.


 +   14 people like this
Posted by Finn, a resident of Charleston Meadows,
on Jun 7, 2018 at 11:30 am

Judges are elected to use their judgment in gray area situations. They have a lot of leeway.

This particular judge gave a rapist a gentle slap on the wrist because he was white, male, privileged, and went to the same school as the judge.

The recall vote won because the majority of voters could see that the judge was giving special treatment to someone who looked like him. If Brock Turner were black, he would have had the book thrown at him in comparison.

You could argue that this is a slippery slope that degrades the independence of judges, but it's just that: a slippery slope fallacy.

In this case it was exactly the right move.

Judges represent and enforce the norms of our culture. Our culture has recently become far less tolerant of sexual abuse and assault, and in a way, this recall is the result of Persky's deviation from that shared value.


 +   19 people like this
Posted by James Thurber, a resident of Mountain View,
on Jun 7, 2018 at 12:24 pm

James Thurber is a registered user.

As a former police officer I have a different view of this case.

First: it was not a rape case. Both charges of "rape" were dropped by the prosecution. The charges were attempted rape and two counts of sexual battery.

Second: Copious amounts of alcohol were involved. So much so that neither the victim nor the defendant remembers the incident.

Third: The defendant had absolutely no criminal record.

Fourth: Ms. Dauber has never practiced law. She has no courtroom experience and this appeared to be a gut reaction to a crime that may or may not have been . . . a crime.

However, I agree with a majority that believes that judges will now consider the social "impact" of their sentencing.


 +   18 people like this
Posted by Oldster, a resident of Old Palo Alto,
on Jun 7, 2018 at 1:08 pm

I voted to recall Judge Persky.

I am not a member of a mob, Ms. Diamond. I simply as a practicing attorney and citizen found disgusting a judge who was more sympathetic to a defendant than a victim of a crime during a sentencing hearing based on statements showing such bias made in court by that judge.

Any shred of respect I might have had for Judge Persky died when he failed twice through the courts to void a lawful recall petition effort. Finally, when he said at a private house party how he and his family were hurt as if that would have anything to do with a voter's decision about a recall, it just recalled to my mind the similar pity-me emotional statements of Brock Turner's parents after his conviction and sentencing.

Meanwhile, we had the treat of seeing retired Judge Cordell flip and flop, and we'll see if Turner ever wins anything on appeal.

No remorse by Persky. Just emotional appeals to poor little innocent victim me while he and his surrogates continue say those who want him gone are a dangerous uneducated mob. Ms. Diamond, which side is truly the puddle of emotional mob thinking?


 +   10 people like this
Posted by @James Thurber, a resident of Mountain View,
on Jun 7, 2018 at 1:09 pm

Your comments show why women do not feel safe when they go to law enforcement to report sexual assaults. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if you were one of those law enforcement officers who wouldn't lift a finger when confronted by one of these cases.

Thank goodness societal norms are changing.


 +   21 people like this
Posted by Dotty Henderson, a resident of Downtown North,
on Jun 7, 2018 at 1:30 pm

Dotty Henderson is a registered user.

Ms. Diamond, this is a crude, nasty piece of work infected with the very emotionalism and lack of clear thinking that you accuse the recall of exhibiting. I realize that you're not being paid and that it doesn't cost anything for the Weekly to deliver your words to readers, but I think you should give serious thought to whether this is how you want to close out your career and the Weekly to whether they want to give you a platform for it.


 +   17 people like this
Posted by Revenge, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Jun 7, 2018 at 1:50 pm

Dotty--Maybe you can contact Michelle Dauber, show her Ms Diamond's comments and suggest a campaign to remove Ms Diamond from her position.
And it is the weekly that should be ashamed of themselves. They penned a cruel and nasty editorial--parroting the false claims of the recall campaign. then published an article showing that the cherry picked cases do not replect a pattern as they and the recall campaign suggested.
Keep up the good work Ms Diamond.


 +   10 people like this
Posted by Common sense, a resident of Old Mountain View,
on Jun 7, 2018 at 2:25 pm

Common sense is a registered user.

Where, in Dotty Henderson's comment above (#35 here), is any evidence or reasoned argument? Where is any serious dispute with the troubling facts Diana Diamond and several others raised in this thread? The comment contains just offhand opinion and characterization. As such, it (unwittingly) substantiates the point about emotionalism driving the recall campaign. That isn't unique to this thread: check the MV-Voice article comments, and note which side's positions use reasoned arguments, vs. which are just name-calling or were deleted by editors: Web Link

My take on the recall election is that it came down to a contest between more- and less-informed voters (since most everyone agrees that the perpetrator got off too easy). I'd have voted for recall, if I hadn't learned that the notorious sentence had little to do with Persky at all (any judge would've done likewise, with the standards then in place; they've said so!) and that the so-called "pattern of bias" was basically a fabricated lie. Yet people persist in raising those defective arguments to rationalize the recall, implying they didn't travel as far along the learning curve. "Low-information voters," by their own implicit assertion.


 +   4 people like this
Posted by @Revenge and (Lack of) Common sense, a resident of Mountain View,
on Jun 7, 2018 at 3:05 pm

Once again, the Persky recall opponents can't help themselves -- they trot out the same worn-out talking point to insist that Persky is the victim of a witch hunt by those horrible, horrible left-wing feminazis.

But I guess when you don't have an actual case, you throw garbage out all over...


 +   7 people like this
Posted by Garbage comments, a resident of South of Midtown,
on Jun 7, 2018 at 3:28 pm

To @revenge and common sense"where to begin? The recall opponents have described at least 2 articles that conclude that the recall claims of a pattern where not true. Since when has the truth become a worn out talking point.
Second, how dare you suggest that the opponents of the recall consider the recall people to be “femi-nazis"?
The people that did not have a real actual case were the pro recall camp. And as for throwing garbage all over- dauber made sure of that in her smear of persky.


 +   3 people like this
Posted by @Garbage comments, a resident of Mountain View,
on Jun 7, 2018 at 3:37 pm

"Second, how dare you suggest that the opponents of the recall consider the recall people to be “femi-nazis"?"

Haven't actually *read* the comments from the anti-recall camp, have you?

"The recall opponents have described at least 2 articles that conclude that the recall claims of a pattern where not true. Since when has the truth become a worn out talking point."

Cherry-picking skills at their very worst.

"The people that did not have a real actual case were the pro recall camp."

Because you say so?

"And as for throwing garbage all over- dauber made sure of that in her smear of persky."

Persky was his own worst opponent. And his supporters only made matters worse.


 +   9 people like this
Posted by SV Phil, a resident of another community,
on Jun 7, 2018 at 4:51 pm

I understood the principle behind the opposition to recall and had first intended to vote no.

But Persky's major supporters used tactics I found so offensive, I (for the first time since I started voting) abstained on voting on the recall issue at all.

Jim McManis's attacks on Emily Doe angered me--he claimed that she did not write her own victim impact statement (he said it was “written by a professional battered women's advocate from the YWCA") and that she was at fault because she was intoxicated.

And LaDoris Cordell accused recall leader Michele Dauber of staging a mailed rape threat containing white powder to get sympathy. (The Massachusetts man who sent it was later arrested.)

My disgust at such "support" was intensified by watching Guiliani's slippery tricks trying to cover for Donald Trump.

Persky's case would have been better with such "help."


 +   11 people like this
Posted by OEO, a resident of Downtown North,
on Jun 7, 2018 at 5:06 pm

There's a fundamental issue missing in this discussion: what do we want, punishment or correction without ruining someone's life any more than necessary. The problem here is that it depends on who is being convicted, and THAT'S what's wrong here.

Some facts: Brock Turner's life is over. His life is ruined. Whether he was sentenced to 3 minutes or 3 decades, this is the reality. The length of prison time pales in comparison to how his life is forever changed. Has Persky sentenced him to 5 years, there really would be very little difference in the outcome.

Another fact. Had Brock Turner been a black female, convicted for virtually any crime, a lenient sentence would have been cheered by Daubner, who would have been pressing for rehabilitation.

The fact is Daubner's determination of the goals of the justice system depend on who is being convicted. White males, she wants the maximum punishment, black females she wants second through fifth chances. That's what is bubbling under the surface here. The people aren't outraged over this sentence, they are outraged that a white male received it and a white male gave it. Had a black female gave the same sentence, would Daubner have recalled her? Don't make me laugh.

The other issue no one is discussing is the fallout from this. Not from other judges, but from normal people. If white men are to be villified, particularly with regards to any action from one who is not white and male, then how will white males react when dealing with the public. I'm Jewish and understand fully how jews in the olden days were also similarly treated, and so they just formed their own closed societies, where they only did business with other jews, only hired other jews, and so on.

The white males have already, very reasonably I might add, started closing up shop to anyone who isn't white and male. 50 years of affirmative action gains are being dismantled by white males watching these white male witch hunts by feminist college professors all across America, usually in campus rape witch hunt situations, but now spilling out to the real world. "If I just interact with other white males, I will never be caught up in one of these." My understanding is that a female startup founder literally cannot get a one on one meeting with any venture capitalist. Simply will never happen again. White guy? No problem. If that's the world Daubner wants, she's getting it.


 +   16 people like this
Posted by Voter, a resident of Adobe-Meadow,
on Jun 7, 2018 at 5:12 pm

2 very good questions by 100% that everyone seems to be ignoring:

"Why didn't they try and go after the probation officer who RECOMMENDED THE SENTENCE TO THE JUDGE?
Can someone tell me why SHE is free to continue to perpetuate this so called rape culture with her recommendations?"


 +   12 people like this
Posted by Bob, a resident of Barron Park,
on Jun 7, 2018 at 6:01 pm

We are all intelligent people here let's lead with that and not resort to name calling. Let us agree that inconvenient truths exist on the side of the issue we oppose. Let us try to be factual. We can walk away still not in agreement but also not angered. Pro recall voters are not feminazis and I didn't vote no on recall because I live in a north county precinct and thus must have a professional or personal relationship with Judge Persky. I voted no on the merits of the issue as did those who voted yes. Brock Turner was never charged with rape. There were no facts to support the charge. To label him as such is as off the mark as shaming the victim might be. If the victim sought help from outsiders in sorting through her emotions and thoughts in order to write something as personally important as her victim's statement, so what. If Dan Turner uttered remarks in defense of his child that were tone deaf and done without the coaching of the so called high priced attorney that doesn't make his son any more or less guilty. Why fight over this.
To some the Turner trial has become a symbol of tolerance for perpetrators of sexual assault and domestic violence. There has been for far too long in our society that tolerance. For some the notion of impeaching a judge that followed the law undermines judicial independence by setting a dangerous precedent. I would have liked it if Michelle Dauber had used her enormous talents to raise money, and elicit supporters by the million across the state and country to effectively lobby for change in the prosecution of sexual offenders, updated sentencing structures and measures designed to reduce crimes of violence against women. That effort might include symposiums for judges to better educate them as to the effects sentencing has on victim's of such crimes. I very much Lament the loss of a judge who has no proven record of bias, did nothing unlawful, committed no acts of impropriety and evidenced no incompetency. Especially do I role against the recall effort when lobbying elected legislators has a better track record for effecting change. Have we opened the door to a scenario that might go like this? A judge has before her/him a case involving a crime of violence and the offender had a gun during the commission of the crime. I said had a gun not used a gun. So the NRA promises to mount a recall effort against that judge if possession of a gun is considered an aggravated circumstance in the sentencing by the judge. NRA members in the state are alerted to the recall effort and agree to sign the petition and vote for recall if the judge sees fit to impose a harsher sentence for the possession of a gun. I worry about unintended consequences when we lower the firewall protecting judicial independence and I lament the lost opportunity for an intelligent and impassioned effort by a proven thought leader to legislatively enhance protection for women against crimes of violence


 +   19 people like this
Posted by Looking at it another way, a resident of Midtown,
on Jun 7, 2018 at 6:01 pm

If I found someone on the ground, unconscious, I'd call 911 and ask them to send an ambulance. In fact, I've done that a few times, once for the victim of a bike accident, and once for a diabetic.

Here we have a case where someone came along, and instead of calling emergency, proceeded to attack the unconscious person who was lying on the ground. And they didn't just attack them, they violated them sexually, all while the victim was one hundred percent defenseless.

Two people's lives were affected:

The young man who decided to attack an unconscious person, rather than calling emergency " his life was ruined, but then, he made the choice to attack an innocent, unconscious person for his own perverse satisfaction rather than calling for aid.

The young woman who had passed out, her life was also severely affected. But she didn't make that choice. In fact, I doubt that she meant to drink herself into unconsciousness. And if she was lying on the ground because she drank a substantial amount of alcohol, shouldn't she have received emergency treatment. And how would we know that she hadn't tripped, stumbled, and hit her head?

As a resident of Santa Clara County, I don't want folks attacking unconscious persons they find lying on the ground. And most definitely, for those people perverse enough to do that, I'd like to keep the punishment for such an act high enough to be a potential deterrent. As far as I'm concerned, there shouldn't be any "first-time" lenience for a crime like this. This is not a case of someone stealing a bottle of hand lotion from Walgreens. I'll bet almost every first grader here in Santa Clara County knows that if you find someone lying on the ground unconscious, you call 911.

This was a jury trial, and the jury's verdicts were undermined by a sentence so light it was barely a slap on the hand. And while the probation officer may have had input, whose decision is it? It's up to the judge.

By California constitutional law, county judges are elected and can be recalled. Of course, in Persky's case, he was first appointed, and then, unopposed when he ran for reelection twice. So, in the case of Persky, he was essentially appointed.

But, in the end, it's up to us, the people of Santa Clara County, to decide whether or not we want a judge who serves our County to ignore the verdict of a jury and essentially let a rapist who attacked an unconscious person off the hook. And we said no.

I'd like to end with a note of sincere appreciation to Michelle Dauber. In the end, you have helped initiate important change that will prevent some acts of violence that might otherwise have occurred, egregious acts against unconscious people or sexual attacks at or after parties or at other times and locations. The would-be perpetrator might think twice " is this worth several years in State prison ... perhaps and hopefully it will prevent some innocent people from becoming victims.

And, finally, to the victim in this case, I am so very sorry for what you experienced and endured. Thank you for your bravery, for the statement you wrote and spoke before the court. My thoughts are still with you, and may you heal as best as you can. You helped initiate change for all of us. Thank you so very much.


 +   15 people like this
Posted by Rebecca White, a resident of Greenmeadow,
on Jun 7, 2018 at 6:22 pm

Diana Diamond is a rare gem in this town. We are a better community as a result of her decades in journalism. Bravo!


 +   16 people like this
Posted by Annette, a resident of College Terrace,
on Jun 7, 2018 at 7:11 pm

Annette is a registered user.

When will the smear campaign end? The election is over and those who wanted Persky removed got what they wanted. Yet today Dauber is quoted in the Post as saying that "people voted against him based on the fact that he has a track record of terrible judgment", a claim that has been disproven time and again. And a poster above describes the fateful night in a way that suggests that Turner came across a stranger, something we all know is not true. And others persist in using the term rape, a crime that was not even charged.

The facts in this case are bad enough without adding inference and distortion.

Are we not now at the point in this sorry saga where we at least begin to move forward?


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Jemaho, a resident of Old Palo Alto,
on Jun 7, 2018 at 9:52 pm

"Posted by @James Thurber, a resident of Mountain View,
7 hours ago
Your comments show why women do not feel safe when they go to law enforcement to report sexual assaults. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if you were one of those law enforcement officers who wouldn't lift a finger when confronted by one of these cases.

Thank goodness societal norms are changing."

I am a feminist and a woman who was raped at knifepoint at the age of 15. I would like to support the right of James Thurber to make some factual statements without being shot down and blamed for women hesitating to report their rape to police.


 +   2 people like this
Posted by Margaret, a resident of another community,
on Jun 8, 2018 at 2:12 am

A a plaintiff in a civil case before Judge Persky, my experience was horrible. Attorney wanted case & dollars - had no expertise and no intent to represent me. Judge Persky accepted attorney selective facts without evidence (non existent - fabricated). I wasn't allowed to go to court - just foot the 60K+ bill.


 +   11 people like this
Posted by mauricio, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland,
on Jun 8, 2018 at 6:04 am

mauricio is a registered user.

It seems like judicial independence means to the recall opponents the freedom for judges to give a slap on the wrist to privileged felons. This article is truly nauseating and indicative of the moral collapse of Palo Alto. It is members of the club defending one of their own.

More than one woman friend has told me that if they were sexually assaulted and knew that a judge like Persky would be handling the trial they wouldn't even bother to report it. A friend of mine committed suicide back in 1979 after her rapist received a ridiculously light sentence from a judge with a similar mindset to former judge Persky.

If judicial independence means that privileged judges are allowed to go easy on privileged offenders without consequnces than I don't want judicial independence.


 +   9 people like this
Posted by Steve White , a resident of East Palo Alto,
on Jun 8, 2018 at 7:23 am

I am not sure folks in Silicon Valley fully appreciate the part class envy played in this - Brock Turner was not wealthy - but many people assumed he was when they say "Stanford" - and they hated him for it.


Michele Dauber repeatedly said he was "privileged" as a code word for wealthy - she could not go too far down that road without possibly alarming her many wealthy donors - flat out callin g him "ricH' would not sit well with them - and of course she did not need to do that- the envious knwo who they resent - anyone better off.

[portion removed.]


Dauber is an activist sociology professor who was well aware of class envy and used it well.


 +   7 people like this
Posted by Revenge, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Jun 8, 2018 at 7:29 am

[Post removed.]


 +  Like this comment
Posted by @Steve White and Revenge, a resident of Mountain View,
on Jun 8, 2018 at 8:09 am

[Post removed.]


 +   7 people like this
Posted by Revenge, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Jun 8, 2018 at 8:34 am

Diana-- two issues with the above poster and his comments.
First of all his comments are insulting and not respectful.
Second of all this poster has been posting under multiple names (@Garbage comments, @Steve White and Revenge, @Revenge and (Lack of) Common sense, @James Thurber etc)
Said poster has been spewing his/her venom at anyone that has dared to explain why they voted no on the recall.
Except for his first "@" post, all subsequent ones should be deleted since they are in violation of forum rules


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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