News


Brock Turner judge launches anti-recall campaign

Persky took oath to uphold Constitution, 'not to appease politicians or ideologues'

Just days before Santa Clara County Judge Aaron Persky is set to be reassigned from criminal cases and before former Stanford University student-athlete Brock Turner will be released from jail, the embattled judge has spoken publicly for the first time -- in a statement posted on the website for a newly launched "Retain Judge Persky" campaign.

"I believe strongly in judicial independence," Persky's statement begins. "I took an oath to uphold the Constitution, not to appease politicians or ideologues.When your own rights and property are at stake, you want the judge to make a fair and lawful decision, free from political influence."

Persky's campaign, officially named "Retain Judge Persky -- No Recall," is a response to the high-profile effort seeking to unseat him in a November 2017 special election. His campaign is already on display in the courtroom, where on Wednesday morning, Aug. 31, he announced that he intends to post on his podium a list of attorneys who have contributed to his campaign to comply with the California Code of Civil Procedure and Judicial Ethics Canon. The list will be updated and displayed during each of Persky's court sessions.

On Wednesday, contributors included Ed Samuels $250; Alan Lagod, $500; Sam Polverino, $250; Gary Goodman, $250; Barbara Muller, $250; Stefan Kennedy, $250; Mondonna Mostofi, $250; Ron Rayes, $250; Daniel Barton, $300; Blair Walsh, $250; Charles Smith, $500 and John Cahners, $309.

The Recall Persky campaign, led by Stanford University law professor Michele Dauber, has raised more than $250,000 so far in donations and pledges -- from more than 2,000 individuals and with most under $100, Dauber said -- and attracted endorsements from various groups including the National Organization for Women and The National Women's Political Caucus of Silicon Valley, as well as national and local elected officials.

Dauber told the Weekly Tuesday that she is "glad the political campaign is underway" and looks forward to giving voters the opportunity to judge Persky's record, which she said demonstrates "a longstanding pattern of judicial bias in favor of privileged and white defendants."

Bias, she added, is "destructive ultimately to not just judicial independence but to the rule of law itself.

"When people don't have access to an unbiased decision maker, they lose faith not only in that tribunal but in the entire legal system. Bias is very corrosive," she said.

Persky's campaign website includes links to statements from supporters and those who have spoken out publicly in defense of judicial independence, including a group of retired Santa Clara County Superior Court judges, the Santa Clara County Bar Association, the California Judges Association and retired Stanford law professor Barbara Babcock.

One of the retired judges, LaDoris Cordell, who has publicly said she disagrees with the Turner sentence, wrote in an email to the Weekly Tuesday that she nonetheless opposes the recall. She called it an "abuse of the recall process" and a threat to judicial independence.

"If it succeeds, then judges will be looking over their shoulders before making any sentencing decisions, for fear of being targeted by someone who doesn't like their rulings," Cordell said. "I believe that the recall process should be utilized to remove judges who have a demonstrated record of abusing and/or misusing their authority or who have a history of making unlawful or biased decisions. Judge Persky does not have such a record."

She said she was pleased to see Persky "stepping up to oppose the recall," pointing to the effect that foregoing that decision had on former state Chief Justice Rose Bird, whom voters recalled in 1986. Persky has not asked Cordell for an endorsement or contribution, she said.

In the coming months, Cordell said it will be important for voters to familiarize themselves with Persky's background and decisions -- "all of them" -- and they "should not rely on the misguided rhetoric of those who are on a mission to remove Judge Persky."

"Voters should consider if they want to set a precedent that will drastically impact the independence of their judiciary," Cordell wrote. "It is my hope that they will elect not to set such a precedent."

The Retain Judge Persky website notes his 20-year record as a prosecutor and judge, an award he received for his work on hate crimes and, in his own words, his "reputation for being fair to both sides."

The campaign launch follows Persky's recent request to no longer hear criminal cases. He will be reassigned to civil matters in San Jose starting Tuesday, Sept. 6.

Last week, Persky recused himself from presiding over a hearing in a child-pornography case, citing publicity that "resulted in a personal family situation such that a person aware of the facts might reasonably entertain a doubt that the judge would be able to be impartial."

In recent weeks, the recall campaign has put out press releases stating that Persky's handling of other sex-crime cases is evidence of his alleged bias. Recall campaign members criticized Persky's four-day sentencing of a plumber who pleaded guilty to a felony child-pornography charge, as well as his decision to delay sentencing for a Foothill College football player, who pleaded no contest to a felony count of domestic violence, so he could attend and play football for the University of Hawaii, according to the recall campaign.

Critics also decried Persky's decision to sentence an immigrant from El Salvador who admitted to sexually assaulting his roommate to three years in state prison, though Persky's supporters warned it was misleading and "inflammatory" to compare the case with Turner's.

Persky is barred from commenting on open cases.

Reporter Sue Dremann contributed to this story.

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The Palo Alto Weekly has created Storify pages to capture ongoing coverage of the Brock Turner case as well as sexual-assault issues at Stanford University. To view them, go to storify.com/paloaltoweekly.

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Follow the Palo Alto Weekly/Palo Alto Online on Twitter @PaloAltoWeekly and Facebook for breaking news, local events, photos, videos and more.

Comments

57 people like this
Posted by Election?
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 31, 2016 at 10:36 am

The campaign to avoid special election to recall shows there is a worry the recall election may be successful.
If the recall election is successful, that means majority of the people who voted do not want the judge anymore.
This is called participatory democracy (with all its virtues and vices).
IMO, any effort to stop this would be anti-democratic!


67 people like this
Posted by Kaz
a resident of Menlo Park
on Aug 31, 2016 at 11:11 am

Of course lawyers will donate to Persky's effort to retain his position, the pinnacle of White Male Privilege. They know they're purchasing future influence with him. This is even more blatantly a "buy" of favorable treatment than presidential election politics, because it is so local and such a small sphere. Persky will know each of those donors personally, and he will not forget the favor when he sees them in his courtroom.

Persky is trying to turn this into a "judicial independence" issue, whereas it's the record of his independent judicial decisions favoring white male predators that's at issue. His ability to apply the law fairly is in question. If the Brock Turner case had concluded a few weeks earlier, Perksy would have been defeated in the recent election because there would have been time to organize an opponent on the ballot. He knows he will not be a judge again when this term is over.

The social status and power perks of being a judge are not something that a man accustomed to privilege will relinquish easily. His "retain" campaign may be most effective in energizing the community to greater exertion in ridding ourselves of the canker of his permissiveness towards sex offenders. (Does he see his own juvenile self reflected in these men he lets off so lightly?)

Persky said that Brock Turner's life will never be the same and that is almost enough punishment in itself for his poor decisions. Just so, let Persky experience the consequences of his poor decisions -- the loss of the status, power, and privilege he is scrambling to protect.

Thank you, PA Weekly, for bringing to the public's attention.


41 people like this
Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 31, 2016 at 11:11 am

Annette is a registered user.

Thank you, LaDoris Cordell, for your comments and counsel. I think more harm than good will come of this recall effort. If recalling Persky could correct all the institutional and personal failings brought to light by the Persky case the recall would be understandable. Unfortunately, while the recall punctuates a much needed message that has resonated across the nation, it will also serve to erode judicial independence. This case has been destructive enough; why add to that?

And if the reports of threats against the judge and taunting of his children are accurate, that is simply more wrong behavior. What's the point to either of those things?


53 people like this
Posted by Emmecj
a resident of Menlo Park
on Aug 31, 2016 at 11:22 am

So Persky has no remorse for his decision? And He does not see anything wrong with his sentencing nor does he see a bias? Seriously??

Being unchallenged he didn't even make the ballot to get re-elected, he was auto-re-elected. The people have no other choice but to Put Recall on the ballot.

Maybe that will make him finally understand.


23 people like this
Posted by Jeff
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 31, 2016 at 11:32 am

Government of the people, by the judges, for the judges ...


53 people like this
Posted by Cate
a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 31, 2016 at 12:00 pm

I am sickened by the mob mentality unleashed on this one judge. The thousands of signers demanding his recall undoubtedly include huge numbers who only have a sketchy understanding of the facts. I bet a huge number think rape was involved though it was not. It was not what he was charged with or tried for though a local paper still uses the word rape for what happened. I think the leader of this recall, in the name of justice, is about to create more injustice. Not just to 1 man but to a lot of first offenders who don't deserve years of punishment which likely will turn them into worse not better people.
I


55 people like this
Posted by Jim
a resident of Community Center
on Aug 31, 2016 at 12:12 pm

The judge followed EXACTLY the probation department recommendation. So why do his opponents know better than the probation department charged with this responsibility?

Would he have fared better by providing a sentence that conflicted with the probation department? Would there then have been accusers from the other side of the fence?

If this recall passes, judges will be highly politicized to make decisions that they think will satisfy the most vocal people and not that work for the specific crime and person that committed it.


6 people like this
Posted by Jeff
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 31, 2016 at 12:28 pm

rape: unlawful sexual intercourse or any other sexual penetration of the vagina, anus, or mouth of another person, with or without force, by a sex organ, other body part, or foreign object, without the consent of the victim.


45 people like this
Posted by vmshadle
a resident of Meadow Park
on Aug 31, 2016 at 12:31 pm

vmshadle is a registered user.

Jim, although I am actually sympathetic to both sides of this argument, I feel that the judge crossed a line with respect to the actual sentence.

Yes indeed, Judge Persky followed the probation department recommendations, which were issued based on Brock Turner's LIES. My problem is that Judge Persky *knew* Mr. Turner lied, and he STILL followed the original probation sentencing recommendations.

To me, that is bias. The perfect outcome would be that Judge Persky remain on the court with NO possibility of ever hearing criminal cases again.


16 people like this
Posted by vmshadle
a resident of Meadow Park
on Aug 31, 2016 at 12:33 pm

vmshadle is a registered user.

And Jeff, that artificial distinction between rape and sexual assault will be eliminated the minute AB2888 is signed by Governor Brown.


55 people like this
Posted by Jurist Imprudent
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 31, 2016 at 12:58 pm

Jurist Imprudent is a registered user.

Of course this anti-recall movement is supported by most lawyers. Many, perhaps most, lawyers aspire to become judges. More pay, more prestige, more power and influence!

If this recall is successful, any lawyers with judicial aspirations will have to be more careful, as well as more lawful, both before and after any judgeship. Judges will be more carefully monitored, and those who are not capable of impartiality, or of making good and just decisions, are at risk for being removed from office.

Which means: loss of pay, loss of prestige, loss of power and influence-- and going back to hustling for clients as a lawyer again.


30 people like this
Posted by Not a Stanford Alum
a resident of Mountain View
on Aug 31, 2016 at 1:53 pm

I wish people would not only look into Judge Persky's actions in the Brock Turner case, but also take the time to read the judge's actions in the case involving Ikaika Gunderson, and then try and defend Persky.

If that is possible, that is.


33 people like this
Posted by Facepalm
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Aug 31, 2016 at 1:56 pm

LaDoris Cordell has condemned the Brock Turner decision as an example of "white privilege" (Web Link).

Just last week, she severely criticized Judge Persky for his handling of another student athlete who Persky sent to Hawaii unsupervised without telling Hawaii about it. That may well have been a violation of federal law requiring that states be notified and give permission before felons are transferred. Cordell said, "There are so many problems with how this case was handled that I’m not even sure where to start." "The system is set up so that if someone has admitted a violent offense and is now a convicted felon, they should be closely monitored," Cordell said. "You don’t just cross your fingers and hope everything is going to be fine. That’s not how the courts are supposed to work." (Web Link).

Cordell's position -- this is a judge who exhibits white privilege and breaks federal law to allow privileged felons to cross state lines to give them a break, but the public can't recall them -- is literally incoherent. Rather than just publishing an email from her, how about asking her to reconcile these views?


27 people like this
Posted by not an attorney
a resident of Menlo Park
on Aug 31, 2016 at 3:05 pm

I am not an attorney, and I support judge persky. one should review a long history of decisions before asking for a recall. I do not think his Judgments warrant a recall.


28 people like this
Posted by Goody
a resident of Los Altos
on Aug 31, 2016 at 3:24 pm

A judge is the manager of his court. After the attorneys "duke it out." a verdict is issued. Then a sentence. This is the time for JUDGEMENT.

[Portion removed. Please don't write in all caps.]

He is no Solomon.

His utter lack of shame, and his unrestrained hubris alone make him unfit to judge others


12 people like this
Posted by HUTCH 7.62
a resident of Portola Valley
on Aug 31, 2016 at 3:48 pm

[Post removed. Off topic.]


28 people like this
Posted by just a thought
a resident of Gunn High School
on Aug 31, 2016 at 4:09 pm

just a thought is a registered user.

It has seemed to me for a long time that what we need is an analysis of Mr. Persky's sentencing behavior across the entire spectrum of cases.

If, in the Brock Turner case, Judge Persky has been especially, unusually lenient (or "merciful," depending on one's point of view), then the accusations against him would take on more merit.

On the other hand, if he shows a pattern of leniency and mercy across all cases, then we might have to consider that he brought no special bias to this one, particular case.

Wouldn't it make sense to have such an accounting of his overall performance?


26 people like this
Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Aug 31, 2016 at 4:46 pm

mauricio is a registered user.

If I were a defender of sexual offenders, I would contribute generously to the nation recall initiative of this miserable judge. Why wouldn't I ? This judge has shown clear and persistent bias against victims of sexual violence and in favor of the perpetrators, especially when they are white.

Our government is supposed to be by the people and for the people. Nobody should be immune from public scrutiny and from facing public wrath and its consequences. We witnessed during the Gore Vs Bush fiasco after the 2000 elections the consequences of judges who are untouchable and don't fear the people.


16 people like this
Posted by Hmm
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 31, 2016 at 5:11 pm

Re facepalm: it really makes me wonder about former Judge Cordell to see the other comments she has made criticizing Persky. I think it's pretty peculiar that the Weekly decided not to mention those comments too and only publish Cordell's criticism of the recall. I don't think that serves readers very well. I would be interested in a response from the Weekly.


11 people like this
Posted by careful what you wish for
a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 31, 2016 at 6:23 pm

@Hmm,

Your post illustrates perfectly the problem. Those supporting the recall simply don't like the sentence given in this case. They haven't scoured the tens of thousands of other cases or found real bias. They have found a few outliers but nothing statistically significant.

Those against the recall see the recall as an attack on judicial independence since it is about one case.

That's how you reconcile Cordell's comments. She may be against this one decision but doesn't see any evidence of bias.

Be very careful how you vote. Without any statistical evidence of bias, you are on very shaky ground


22 people like this
Posted by Careful Indeed
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 31, 2016 at 6:37 pm

Careful Indeed is a registered user.

I must say that Persky's history shows a pattern of extreme leniency with white men, in particular white male college athletes.
[Portion removed.]


19 people like this
Posted by Oldster
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 31, 2016 at 7:54 pm

I was in a jury pool in his courtroom last year for a domestic violence case last year. I saw enough over a few days of the jury selection to make me look forward to voting to throw him off the bench next year. Our local courts can find someone better.

I'm glad non-federal judges must face elections. We voters are a check and balance. Judges work for us, not the other way around. Federal judges get appointed by the President and those judges must face the check and balance of approval from elected federal senators.

[Portion removed.]


9 people like this
Posted by Hmm
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 31, 2016 at 7:59 pm

If Persky broke the law in sentencing Gunderson, I don't really care that he didn't break the law in other cases. I prefer given what I already know about his record to have the services of another lawyer as a judge.

But in any case, if the Weekly is going to quote Cordell they should give the public the benefit of knowing that she also harshly criticized his performance as a judge. Even better journalism would be to ask her to explain.


15 people like this
Posted by EPA Resident
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Aug 31, 2016 at 8:54 pm

Why stop with recall? Let's just get rid of the whole court system and try cases in these discussion sections. Guilt or innocence can be determined by the preponderance of comments scaled by likes and dislikes.


19 people like this
Posted by Kidding right?
a resident of Portola Valley
on Aug 31, 2016 at 9:20 pm

[Portion removed.] In the cases mentioned the lifelong reliving of the violence against this victim is a punishment for her the judge failed to take into account in any way. I have been a counselor for over 40 years and I work daily with women reliving their assault years and years later. By the way the legal definition of rape is clearly what he was found guilty of--and by the way a felony--in fact he was found guilty of THREE felonies--by an unanimous jury. This kind of violation and the fact that the "system" of "judicial independence" took no care of her is just one more negative impact on this woman's life. The bigger issue is that this kind of violence is seen as "no big deal" until it happens to you, your daughter, your wife, your sister....as Lady GaGa's amazing song says it all " 'Til it happens to you, you don't know How it feels How it feels 'Til it happens to you, you won't know It won't be real No it won't be real Won't know how it feels." I believe we need a movement just like the Mothers Against Drunk Drivers. Before that successful movement drunk drivers uniformly got off as everyone thought "oh that could be any of us making a mistake." This isn't a "mistake" and being drunk doesn't let you off the hook just like it doesn't make the victim "guilty." Such a bizarre cultural belief that a victim being drunk makes her/him guilty and the perpetrator not guilty. Why is that? Simple and clear sexism--by the way whether the victim is male or female. Making an example of Judge Persky (not his children or wife by the way) is a beginning of saying--we aren't going to take it anymore. This has brought more light to the subject of campus rape and white male privilege than anything in a long time. I agree--let's look at all his judgements....so many of them have been abhorrent. How does a person CONVICTED of having child pornography get four days in jail? That's "judicial independence?" That's pure and simply disgusting. I agree that "mandatory sentencing" has been abused over the years, but the victim HAS TO BE RECOGNIZED! For the love of your mother, sister, daughter, niece and friends. PLEASE!


17 people like this
Posted by proudCal
a resident of another community
on Aug 31, 2016 at 9:39 pm

I just noticed from Persky's site that he is law graduate from UC Berkely and undergrad from Stanford. Before reading that website, I had only seen or listened to Prof. Dauber's interviews where she kept mentioning about Persky's Stanford connection. She never ever mentioned that Judge Persky is from UC Berkeley law school. Now it makes sense. I consider Judge Persky as a very progressive and supportive judge. Every one, please read the buzzfeed details of Ikaika Gunderson's story. In my opinion, Ikaika needs medical treatment for his concussions and mental disorders than locked up in jail. Even his girl friend whom he had hit did not want him to be locked up. Judge Persky was correct in this case. We need judges like him. His sympathetic and liberal nature came from his Berkeley education (and definitely not from Stanford).


15 people like this
Posted by Not a Stanford Alum
a resident of Mountain View
on Aug 31, 2016 at 9:43 pm

@proudCal -- Either you completely misread the Gunderson story, or you are yet another in the many Persky defenders who do not let actual facts stand in the way of defending the character.

I suggest you *actually* read the report you quote. And read every word of it.


12 people like this
Posted by Kidding right?
a resident of Portola Valley
on Aug 31, 2016 at 9:50 pm

A couple more thoughts--how can it be right that Judge Persky lists all the people supporting him in "no-recall" in the courtroom? That seems bizarre to me. The statement that makes to anyone in the courtroom is really strange. To the lawyers who haven't given money to this will be publicly shamed and the people in the court will be told clearly, I'm collecting money to save my job. Publish is in the newspaper or online....what is THAT about except "pay to play." I'm sure we'll all be watching how he rules in civil court in regards to the lawyers that have or haven't given money. And as for the over 1.5million signatures (and that's just one of the petitions by the way) [portion removed] This is also like the LGBTQ movement...before anyone came out, people everywhere thought they didn't know someone who was. Now that that movement is fully in place, everyone knows someone is LGBTQ. Rape and assault victims need to have a safe forum to come out and not feel blamed or that they were the ones that made the mistake. My clients who have suffered this violence struggle with this the rest of their lives. They believe they were the ones who made a mistake. So many of them never "come out." Let us hope this nascent movement gets real momentum. For the love of your mother, daughter, niece and friends.


11 people like this
Posted by Investigate
a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Aug 31, 2016 at 10:00 pm

There will be a forum about the Persky recall on Sept 22nd at the University Club in Palo Alto fro 12-2. Come join and hear the facts and information for yourself.


5 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 31, 2016 at 10:33 pm

[Portion removed.]


3 people like this
Posted by Facts
a resident of Los Altos
on Aug 31, 2016 at 11:08 pm


[Portion removed.]

Also for the record, Michele Dauber identifies herself as a family friend of the 24 year old victim. That's her connection to the case, and not the fact that she authored a policy to protect students against sexual assault. Her policy was silent on the issue of older adults with no connection to the campus.


15 people like this
Posted by Liz Lynx
a resident of Mountain View
on Aug 31, 2016 at 11:25 pm

Judge Cordell is concerned that public pressure on our independent judiciary will dilute effectiveness and autonomy.
This is not the issue with Judge Persky. He should be recalled because his judgement is so faulty that he cannot be trusted to make fair decisions. Rape of a comatose young women deserves serious punishment and any judge who fails to see this should not be trusted to sit in judgement for any cases, civil or criminal.
judge Persky holds an elective office and as such, is always answerable to the electorate. That his decision was offensive makes criticism and recall from office part of the democratic process.




17 people like this
Posted by pearl
a resident of another community
on Sep 1, 2016 at 2:29 am

pearl is a registered user.

Attorneys contributing to Judge Persky's no recall campaign?!? Isn't that a conflict of interest? How will the Judge remain impartial in cases where the attorney has donated to his no recall campaign?!? This situation is going from bad to worse!!!


13 people like this
Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Sep 1, 2016 at 5:59 am

mauricio is a registered user.

Judicial independence? What a joke. Persky seems to be in awe of white males, college athletes in particular, who can't seem to commit any sexual crime he would not treat with astonishing leniency. He seems to have an intrinsic lack of apathy for sexual attack victims, and the impression is, frankly, that he puts most of the blame on them.


3 people like this
Posted by Chris M
a resident of South of Midtown
on Sep 1, 2016 at 11:46 am

Chris M is a registered user.

@Jeff Sorry, but your definition of "rape" is not how rape is defined by California law, nor is it consistent with how the word has been understood for hundreds of years.

@vmshadle AB 2888 does not erase the distinction between rape and sexual penetration by a foreign object in California, nor does it change the prescribed sentences for sexual penetration, which are already virtually identical to those for the crime of rape. All AB 2888 does is eliminate the possibility of a person convicted on a sexual penetration charge of getting a suspended sentence or parole without prison time. Brock Turner served 3 months in county jail. Under AB 2888, I believe that he would have had to serve at least 6 months.

If the sentences are the same, why is the distinction between the crimes of rape and sexual penetration by a foreign object significant? Because when most people hear the word "rape" they think of non-consensual sexual intercourse, not a hand rubbing against a crotch (which is all that is needed to commit a sexual penetration crime). That's why so many people are outraged by the Turner sentence -- 6 months for raping an unconscious stranger, as this case has been described in media around the world, does indeed sound like a disgustingly lenient sentence. But that's not what happened in this case. Some people clearly still think the sentence was too lenient (I have friends who feel that way), but I suspect that most people, for reasons that emanate from deep within our psyches, consider rape (i.e., non-consensual sexual intercourse) to be a more egregious offense than manual fondling, and therefore deserving of a harsher sentence. (As noted above, I concede that California law suggests that the legislature might take issue with me on that last point.)

Just to be clear, I agree that Mr Turner committed a crime, and I am not even arguing that his sentence was appropriate. But his crime was not rape, and people should understand the actual facts of the Turner case before supporting a recall of Judge Persky. The mere fact that his sentence followed the probation department's recommendation shows that his sentence, even if too lenient, was not so far outside the realm of reason as to justify his recall.


11 people like this
Posted by sidwell
a resident of Mountain View
on Sep 1, 2016 at 11:47 am

I have a friend who wrote her Stanford PHD dissertation on the aftermath of WWII in eastern Germany. Of course, widespread rape of many thousands of women by the conquering Soviets became widely known and notorious. Nothing much was ever done concerning the less widespread rape of women in the American and French zones. This is enlightening in the concern about "rape" becoming a political bombshell. There are already more people in US Jails and Prisons than any other country. The object is for the Judge to consider justice in a more enlightened way and decide issues on the merits of the case [portion removed].


18 people like this
Posted by Local mom of girls
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Sep 1, 2016 at 12:02 pm

Judge Persky acted within the boundaries of the current law and within the parameters of the case. Our judicial system
can not be run by public opinion. You don't like the law, then change it.

Filling our prisons with people like Brock Turner wastes tax payer dollars.

What IS a shame is that Persky did not also sentence him to a HUGE NUMBER of hours of community service
directed at changing the culture of excessive drinking and rape on college campuses. This incident is only one of
MANY that happen every year on every college campus in our country!

AND it would be much more productive if ALL these hundreds of thousands of anti-Pesky people with all their signatures and monetary donations would put the same amount of time and money towards efforts to reduce
the culture of alcohol and rape on our campuses! How about funding an organization on your local college campus
that helps with this?

[Portion removed.]


14 people like this
Posted by senor blogger
a resident of Palo Verde
on Sep 1, 2016 at 12:21 pm

Michele Dauber is not listed as a member of the BAR in Ca. Therefore she is only a Law School Graduate, unable to argue cases. She is not an "Attorney". Don't be misled by people trying to subvert the legal system.


3 people like this
Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Sep 1, 2016 at 1:35 pm

mauricio is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


7 people like this
Posted by Citizen
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 1, 2016 at 2:21 pm

I might have been swayed by arguments here, except Persky was the judge in the DeAnza rape case - one of the biggest miscarriages of justice, one I am glad to have a chance, in a democracy, to finally remove him over. The recall was not a reactionary decision hinging on one out-of-character ruling. Who judges the judges in a democracy? The people have a responsibility to the victims, too.


3 people like this
Posted by Deanza Civil Case
a resident of Los Altos
on Sep 1, 2016 at 2:50 pm

The Deanza case involved college drinking. The real problem is the lax enforcement of drinking laws in Santa Clara County especially by the district attorney. That would be a positive change that would help avoid future victims. It's happening in Alameda County. See Web Link You just never hear about enforcement like this for Stanford or Deanza.

Now the D.A. is the one who couldn't file charges in the Deanza case. The only trial that ever happened was the civil trial. Several defendants settled with the victim. Only two got off in civil court proceedings. I don't know how you could call this a miscarriage of justice. It was the best the justice system could do. You can't expect a civil trial to adhere to politically correct ideas about protecting rape victims when they are seeking damages in civil. It's not the same thing as a criminal trial. The issue there was that all the victims and witnesses and participants were drunk up to their ears and no one could accurately say what went on.


8 people like this
Posted by Chris M
a resident of South of Midtown
on Sep 2, 2016 at 12:06 am

Chris M is a registered user.

The failure to obtain any criminal convictions in the De Anza case is troubling, but Judge Persky had absolutely nothing do to with that result!! Nothing at all.

The related case that Judge Persky did preside over was a civil case for monetary damages brought by the victim against two of the alleged perpetrators. The decision that Judge Persky's opponents criticize him for was the decision to allow the defense to present photographs of the victim out partying that were taken some time after the assault. However, as the lawyers among those opponents should know, Judge Persky's decision was correct. In that trial, the victim testified that as a result of the assault she had become socially withdrawn. The photographs were therefore admissible to contradict that testimony. The photographs were not introduced to suggest that the victim's actions or attire were somehow responsible for the assault or to excuse the perpetrators. If the victim had not made apparently false claims about her social isolation, then those photographs probably would not have been admissible. But under the circumstances, not admitting the photographs would have given the defendants grounds to appeal any verdict against them.


5 people like this
Posted by This post is a total lie
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 2, 2016 at 12:56 am

This post is a total lie is a registered user.

Oh thanks Chris for mansplaining rape culture for us.


2 people like this
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Sep 2, 2016 at 11:48 am

At least Persky can be recalled, if voters seem that th best course of action. What about probation officer Monica Lasettre, who recommended the light sentence? She keeps her job, hasn't faced any blowback? What role has her department played in Persky's other sentences?


6 people like this
Posted by Informed
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 2, 2016 at 3:37 pm

Chris M. is not "mansplaining" - rather he gave an excellent explanation of the Rules of Evidence. Nice job, Chris. I appreciate that Chris detailed why certain photographs were correctly admitted to contradict witness testimony and that it was the witness who "opened the door" to having the photos admitted. He was not "mansplaining" rape culture!


2 people like this
Posted by Alex
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Sep 4, 2016 at 8:07 am

While I don't always agree with recall campaigns there needs to be a precedent set. This was a poor ruling by the judge and doesn't appear to take into account the victim's trauma and ongoing needs. WHile Persky only mentioned the problems Turner will face. This shows serious bias on part of the judge. He needs t be recalled and judges need to understand that they are elected officials held to standards. They need to be held liable just like a doctor if the doctor makes a serious mistake. Just like anyone else is held liable for their actions at work.
Judges don't need to constantly look over their shoulders but be aware that their rulings better be thought out thoroughly with both sides properly represented.
The case is over and Persky hasn't made a comment which makes me think he still feels he made the correct decision.

Persky, I have one question for you. What if Turner did this to your daughter or you sister or your wife? I guarantee the ruling would be more severe. Although I know he can't serve on a trial that he has a personal interest but my point is he only took into account Mr Turners priviledges and not the victim's. For this he needs to go.


4 people like this
Posted by justice vs. revenge
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 4, 2016 at 9:39 am

"Persky, I have one question for you. What if Turner did this to your daughter or you sister or your wife? I guarantee the ruling would be more severe."

That's why we have independent judges and not family or close family friends judge cases. You need people who are not personally involved in the case making these decisions otherwise you just get revenge.


4 people like this
Posted by Judgement
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 4, 2016 at 12:26 pm

There are two problems with Persky incident:

- an overly lenient sentence is unfair to the victims and does not deter other would-be criminals. We'll argue this point forever whether recall is justified.


- an overly lenient sentence drives the public towards legislative reaction: harsher minimum sentences. Had the judge used good judgement we could then give wider latitude to the judges. More minimal offenses can get lesser sentences had Turner received more appropriate sentencing.

This second point is far reaching - we have overloaded prisons due in part to strict minimum sentence laws.

When judges fail to exercise good judgement in costs all of society: tax payers, prisoners, victims.

The judges need to be more in step with the values of the community they serve.


5 people like this
Posted by Judgement
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 4, 2016 at 12:31 pm

...in this regard, I favor recalling the one judge rather than increasing minimum sentences on all.


The judiciary remains somewhat more independent by removing one judge vs. constraining all judges.

Recall preserves independence while getting judges back in step with the community they serve.


5 people like this
Posted by Revenge
a resident of Los Altos
on Sep 4, 2016 at 2:09 pm

It's pretty clear that a lot of the people favoring stronger sentences are out for revenge. This is the
American fallacy of thinking that everything can be fixed by the law. The rest of the world is a lot
more enlightened, in general, except for the 3rd world, Iran, Iraq, North Korea and so forth.

In the same breath they claim a victim of unwanted sexual encounter can never manage to get
the police to pay attention, they overlook the fact that in this case, there was no problem.

A basic underpinning of the law is mens rea, "the act is not culpable unless the mind is guilty".
The legal system has been corrupted to think that sexual assault is different, the perpetrator does not
need to have intent to be guilty. This really makes no sense in sex in general, but in the case like this
where the victim was a willing participant in getting to the dumpster, and the perpetrator himself
was so very drunk, it is really a severe question as to whether the actions should criminalized. This is
why other cases where there is clearer guilty get doubts cast on them. The law is muddy and
illogical. The news stories make it sound like this guy found the victim alone passed out by a
dumpster and attacked her. They make it sound like she was the student and he was the older
more powerful interloper. It's a real mess. Politics says the demonstrators will get what they want,
but this makes the legal situation more capricious and less effective. This would not happen
this way in a European country. The prisons are more humane and the sentences cast less of a permanent
bight on the convict. So sad for everyone. There would be more convictions and less assault but less
punishment under the Scandinavian system.


9 people like this
Posted by Not a Stanford Alum
a resident of Mountain View
on Sep 4, 2016 at 5:10 pm

@Revenge -- It's hard to say which is worse about your post: the fact that you seem to dismiss the very criminal act that Brock Turner committed, or that you somehow seem to insinuate that the woman in this case somehow had it coming to her.

In either case, the mindset that you display is highly disturbing.


3 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Downtown North
on Sep 4, 2016 at 8:34 pm

Probation in Ohio isn't going to be fun for Brock Turner. CBS News reports on what is waiting for him. Ohio is an open carry state and Brock's neighbor's aren't shy. Web Link


6 people like this
Posted by Revenge
a resident of Los Altos
on Sep 4, 2016 at 11:57 pm

Exactly. Since when is a 6 month sentence in jail give for no crime. It was a crime. It has a life sentence of ongoing torture. To ask ask for more time in a worse jail is revenge. Thats about it. Orange is the new black. Take a look at it.


2 people like this
Posted by SEA_SEELAM REDDY
a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 5, 2016 at 2:35 am

SEA_SEELAM REDDY is a registered user.

The judge is no good.

period.

respectfully


8 people like this
Posted by Andy Daniel
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Sep 9, 2016 at 7:25 am

I won't say that I have any sympathy for Brock Turner but Judge Persky was placed in the difficult situation of having to pass sentence on what Turner was actually convicted of, not what the press claimed he did, and not what he might have done had two passers-by not stopped him.

As others have correctly pointed out, Turner was not convicted of rape, those charges were dropped when the prosecution felt they could not prove them. In addition, digital penetration is not rape under California law, though it is in some other states.

Muddling the situation is the highly insensitive letter written by Turner's father - but again, you can't hold this against the accused, and there is no evidence that the judge even considered it.

I certainly think that the sentence was too lenient even for those crimes for which Turner was actually convicted. But Judge Persky could not sentence Turner as a rapist - no matter what Turner did or planned to do - as he was not convicted of that crime.

A bigger issue is the recall campaign. I think this is a dangerous precedent. The job of a judge is to be fair and neutral, and a fear of job loss pushing judges to be more harsh in sentencing is much bigger than any one perpetrator or victim. If there were recall campaigns against judges for sentencing too harshly (and perhaps there have been) this may be a different story. But for now, this recall campaign - EVEN if it fails - will probably cause longer sentences, meaning other people - yes, people who have in fact done something wrong - will pay the price not only for their own misdeeds but also for Turners.


12 people like this
Posted by Reality check
a resident of Community Center
on Sep 9, 2016 at 8:09 am

The minimum sentence for the crime Turner was convicted of, assaul with intent to commit rape, is 2 years. Persky had to find special circumstances to give a 6 month sentence. Check your facts before posting please.


2 people like this
Posted by Same noise
a resident of another community
on Sep 11, 2016 at 3:17 pm

If Judge Persky had sentenced Turner to 2 years, there'd be just as much noise. Two years for a rape is outrageous, is what we'd be hearing. After all, he and the victim walked on their own to the dumpster area. Raping in a dumpster area is especially bad. Just listen to the media. She was older and wiser. To last that long without passing out she
had to be an experienced drinker. I wonder what we'd be hearing if he were under 18. He was close. It's all a big mess. The judge had to listen to the probation report because the situation was so screwed up. And they said 6 months.


2 people like this
Posted by pearl
a resident of another community
on Sep 11, 2016 at 5:00 pm

pearl is a registered user.

The lenient sentence aside, he has to register as a Sex Offender for the rest of his life. You'd better believe that stigma is going to play he11 with his life until the day he dies. And, on any work applications he fills out, he's going to have to list all felony offenses incurred after the age of 18 years. What employer wants to hire a felonious Sex Offender?!?


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

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