The effort to recall Santa Clara County Judge Aaron Persky has been temporarily halted, with a judge approving a restraining order to stop the campaign from collecting the signatures needed to place the measure on the ballot next summer.
The San Jose Mercury News reported that retired Orange County Judge Marjorie Laird Carter granted the order on Friday afternoon, blocking the campaign from gathering signatures for the next 12 days, until an Aug. 23 hearing.
This was a small victory for Persky, whose six-month sentence for former Stanford University student Brock Turner's sexual assault of an unconscious woman outside a fraternity party on campus in 2015 was widely criticized. The recall campaign, led by Stanford law professor Michele Dauber (a family friend of the young woman), has alleged Persky has shown a pattern of bias against women and defendants of color in sexual violence cases.
The campaign organizers announced just hours before the restraining order was granted that they had received the green light from the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters to start collecting approximately 90,000 signatures from voters to put the recall on the June 2018 ballot.
According to the Mercury News, Persky argued in court documents that because he is a state officer, California’s secretary of state rather than the county registrar should have decided whether the campaign's signature effort could move forward.
In a statement, Dauber called Persky's motion to block the campaign from gathering signatures "a last-ditch desperate effort," adding that the campaign did everything correctly.
"The Constitution and the California Elections Code are completely clear. We scrupulously followed every provision required by law, as did the County in approving our petition and telling us that we can collect signatures," she said.