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Firing Judge Persky as a tennis coach was a big mistake

Uploaded: Sep 17, 2019
Former Judge Aaron Persky is being derided and disgraced. It’s unfair – and regretful.

Persky was the Santa Clara County judge who conducted the Brock Turner sexual offense trial and sentenced the Stanford student to six months in jail. That sentence produced an outcry, led by Stanford Prof. Michele Dauber, who said Turner should have been punished more; the sentence was too short for the crime committed. Dauber started a successful recall drive and Persky was forced out in the 2018 election.

Persky was recently hired by the Fremont Union High School District as junior varsity high school girls’ tennis coach at Lynbrook High School in San Jose. He was there a day and then was abruptly fired. The superintendent of the district said the firing to protect the students from the potentially intrusive media attention related to his hiring.

How ironic, if that was really the reason for the firing. The school district wanted to avoid media attention, but the firing prompted substantially more attention than Persky’s hiring would ever have received if he stayed on the job. And it’s a bit ludicrous to think students would be bothered by reporters on campus – a hiring is not worth such coverage.

But there may be other reasons. The district may have caved in because of a petition circulating online that said by hiring Persky, the district was, in effect, sending aa message that it didn't value the trauma undergone by the girl who was the victim, Chanel Miller, and others.

I think Persky is being used as a rallying symbol for all the judicial decisions over the years on sexual offenses that some women have felt were unfair because judges seemed to have dismissed the severity of the offense. So when the small-time coaching hiring came to light, the petition was circulated – three years after the incident and one year after Persky was recalled.

What bothers me is the school’s cowardly decision to fire Persky. Persky had done nothing wrong. He was the judge in the case, not the sexual offender. And taking on this coach job and then being fired one day later made big headlines – locally and nationally. Obviously, the work of a tennis coach had nothing to do with judicial decisions, which had been the complaint against Persky A judge – any judge – who makes a decision that some fell was unfair should be entitled to get on with the rest of his life. But the complainers are not allowing Persky to do that.

A letter in the San Jose Mercury this past Sunday also seemed to ignore the distinction between being a judge and being the sexual offender. “Why would a high school advocating for the physical and mental safety of their students even consider hiring a person who fails to acknowledge the full gravity of sexual assault to work with teenage girls?” Manvi Nawani of Cupertino signed it.

Persky was challenged to a recall election, which he lost. But he had never been hadn’t been implicated in any misconduct, malpractice or, certainly any crime.

This is not what our society is all about. To pound on Persky three years after his decision is unfair and unjust. Judges who made a poor decision still have a right to work and readjust their lives – and not be haunted and taunted by others.
What is it worth to you?


Posted by @(so-called) Resident, a resident of Mountain View,
on Sep 17, 2019 at 6:58 pm

[Portion removed.]

After all, it was you and your cohort who insisted on using smear tactics against the woman who was assaulted by Brock Turner.

Aaron Persky has learned a lesson that so many other have learned: When you show a lack of judgement, your future will be affected by it.

Persky deserves no sympathy whatsoever.

Posted by mauricio, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland,
on Sep 18, 2019 at 6:33 am

mauricio is a registered user.

Persky has dome nothing wrong? He has shown a well documented favorable treatment of males who assaulted women while showing little, actually no sympathy for the victims. He gave Turner a ridiculously light sentence. The unintended message to the victims is that they don't matter, especially when assaulted by a jock. Why would young girls and their parents feel comfortable with such a man acting as their tennis coach?

The consequences to him are trivial compared to the consequences to the victims who are scarred and damaged for life. Persky is an attorney, but has chosen not to practice law after his recall. Apparently he doesn't need the money. Why should anyone feel sorry for him?

Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Sep 18, 2019 at 7:46 am

Bravo Diana for saying what needs to be said.

Posted by mauricio, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland,
on Sep 18, 2019 at 10:20 am

mauricio is a registered user.

So now Persky is the victim...speak of an upside-down world.

Posted by Barbara, a resident of Downtown North,
on Sep 18, 2019 at 11:28 am

Diana Diamond has to be kidding!! Persky has done nothing wrong?? An attorney, a former judge; finally, a junior varsity girls' tennis coach - fired. WHAO! WHOA! What next?

Posted by K, a resident of Palo Alto Hills,
on Sep 18, 2019 at 12:18 pm

Chanel is my friend's daughter. I think Judge Persky did something wrong by letting a rapist go minimally punished after he raped my friend's daughter who had fallen down. It wasn't called rape then but it was.

Posted by Paul C., a resident of Midtown,
on Sep 18, 2019 at 12:39 pm

Persky lacks sympathy and respect for women based on his poor judgement so how can I trust him to coach my girls and any students? Coach is not just teaching techniques but is also injects his value to students. I support the district's decision to fire him. [Portion removed.]

Posted by Sam, a resident of Professorville,
on Sep 18, 2019 at 12:43 pm

It will be interesting to see what impact her memoir has on this dialogue. As a public, elected official Persky should know what the stakes are in sentencing someone either with too much clemency or too harsh a punishment. The school should not have hired him in the first place by realizing what impact it might have on young teenagers and the precedent it sets. As seen by his recall, the public can and did hold him accountable to the sentencing as Turner took advantage of Miller and the situation to assault someone with the evidence presented. Just as Miller lives with the repercussions of the assault and Turner lives with his choices to assault her, so must Persky in his oversight of the case. I'm surprised that he thought it would be a good idea to even apply to coach there given the backlash from the sentencing. Sometimes “hasn't he been punished enough" doesn't apply. I.E don't work with kids if you had a problem determining whether or not someone was guilty of sexual assault and taking advantage of someone.

Posted by rsmithjr, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis,
on Sep 18, 2019 at 12:47 pm

rsmithjr is a registered user.

Mr. Persky has become the victim of a vengeful vendetta.

But what did he do wrong? He was never accused of a crime or of disobeying some official rule.

He made a sentence that was perfectly legal and in fact standard enough. If you believe that sentence was insufficient, the proper solution would have been to change the law. In fact, it was changed after this case.

The public has the right to vote judges out of office, and that happened. Such things usually follow the commission of a crime or misconduct, but the public had that right. It is over and done with.

Now, in a effort to find a job to support himself, we have people wanting to have him barred from other jobs that he seeks.

Is there no sense of Mr. Persky's rights? Do our principles of diversity and inclusion not include him?

Posted by Lennie, a resident of Barron Park,
on Sep 18, 2019 at 1:08 pm

I totally agree with Diana's post. Persky committed no crime and there was no justification for firing him. I hope he sues the school district for wrongful termination. I also agree with Green Gables' comment. Turner did not receive a 6-month sentence he received a life sentence. Some of the hard core feminists are still not satisfied.

Posted by BarbL, a resident of Meadow Park,
on Sep 18, 2019 at 1:32 pm

"Judges who made a poor decision still have a right to work and readjust their lives �" and not be haunted and taunted by others."

I don't think so. Persky is not the victim here. Turner is not the victim here. Chanel Miller is the victim here.

[Portion removed.]

Posted by Resident, a resident of Midtown,
on Sep 18, 2019 at 1:42 pm

Totally agree with Diana. [Portion removed.] With all these social media hashtag trends we have a modern day phenomenon where big groups of people gang up on one person [portion removed.]

Posted by James Thurber, a resident of Mountain View,
on Sep 18, 2019 at 1:56 pm

James Thurber is a registered user.

I won't make a comment regarding Aaron Persky one way or the other. But there is a lesson here.

The lesson is that social media, aka gossip, is an incredibly powerful tool, especially when misused.

One of these days we'll have to learn how to deal with digital gossip and possibly even learn how to tell truth from fiction. Probably not in my lifetime, though.

Thanks for listening.

Posted by mauricio, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland,
on Sep 18, 2019 at 2:43 pm

mauricio is a registered user.

Brock Turner did not receive a life sentence by having to register as a sex offender. [Portion removed.] His sex offender status would potentially hurt him only if he decides to run for political office.

The one who received a life sentence is Ms [Miller], who has been scarred and damaged not only by [Turner], but by an indifferent judge who thought so little of her plight that he decided a light slap on the wrist was sufficient.

[Portion removed.]

Posted by KJH, a resident of Stanford,
on Sep 18, 2019 at 2:50 pm

KJH is a registered user.

I completely support and agree with Diana Diamond's reasonable analysis.

Posted by Lennie, a resident of Barron Park,
on Sep 18, 2019 at 2:52 pm

[Post removed due to removal of referenced comment.]

Posted by Robert , a resident of Midtown,
on Sep 18, 2019 at 3:44 pm

[Post removed due to removal of referenced comment.]

Posted by Steve White , a resident of another community,
on Sep 18, 2019 at 4:06 pm

[Post removed.]

Posted by Steve White, a resident of another community,
on Sep 18, 2019 at 4:17 pm

[Post removed.]

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