News


Law professors voice opposition to Persky recall

Faculty from Stanford University, elsewhere sign letter

More than 90 law professors from throughout California, including 29 from Stanford University, signed a letter this week expressing their opposition to a campaign to recall Santa Clara County Superior Judge Aaron Persky.

Calling the recall a threat to judicial independence, the letter defends Persky's sentencing judgment, including his most controversial decision — the six-month sentencing of former Stanford student Brock Turner, who was convicted of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman on campus in 2015. This case was the catalyst for the recall effort, which is being led by Stanford Law School professor Michele Dauber. She and supporters of the campaign argue Persky has demonstrated a pattern of judicial bias against women and defendants of color in other sexual-violence cases.

"The mechanism of recall was designed for and must be limited to cases where judges are corrupt or incompetent or exhibit bias that leads to systematic injustice in their courtrooms," the professors write. "None of these criteria applies to Judge Persky.

"We appreciate that some people (indeed including some of the signers of this letter) might have chosen a different result," the letter continues, "but the core values of judicial independence and integrity require the judge to make a decision based on the record (including, in this case, the recommendation of a skilled professional, a probation officer) -- not on public outcry about a controversial case."

The professors also argue that other sentencing decisions the recall campaign has pointed to as evidence of judicial bias "followed the equally common and legitimate practice of accepting a recommendation agreed on by the prosecution and defense."

A group of law school faculty penned a similar letter last summer, signed by 46 professors. The core group decided to release a fresh version this week as the recall campaign prepared to start gathering the required number of signatures to place the recall on the June 2018 ballot, said Robert Weisberg, Stanford law professor and co-director of the Stanford Criminal Justice Center.

Just after the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters approved the recall campaign's official petition on Wednesday, however, a judge approved a restraining order filed by Persky to temporarily halt the signature-gathering effort. 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 an interview, Dauber called this a "frivolous," "political" move intended to delay the signature collection.

Weisberg declined to comment on Persky's legal challenge but said he and the other professors are "operating on the assumption" that the recall will move forward.

As of Friday afternoon, 93 professors from both public and private universities had signed the letter in support, including from Santa Clara University, the University of California, Berkeley; University of California, Hastings College; University of California, Davis; University of San Diego; Pepperdine University; Chapman University; and the University of Southern California.

In response, Dauber said it's "disappointing but not surprising that a group of law professors is siding with a judge against the constitutionally provided right of the people of this county to exercise democratic oversight of this elected official."

She criticized the signers for, she contends, falsely stating in an initial version of the letter that the Santa Clara County Bar Association conducted a "review" of Persky’s decisions, finding no evidence of bias.

In a statement last summer, the bar association said it opposes the recall and "has seen no credible assertions that in issuing the (Turner) sentence, Judge Persky violated the law or his ethical obligations or acted in bad faith. Nor is the SCCBA aware of any other complaints or allegations of impropriety against Judge Persky during his 13 years on the bench."

Weisberg said that while the bar association did not conduct a formal study or investigation, it "clearly examined available evidence."

"The word 'review' is pretty general, and this objection is a trivial quibble," he said.

The professors have since updated the letter to read "the Santa Clara County Bar Association issued a 2016 statement opposing attempts to remove Judge Persky from the bench," with a link to the statement.

Margaret Russell, a Santa Clara University School of Law professor, said this week's letter "adds a perspective to the recall issue that has not been sufficiently addressed before now.

"Law professors are by nature pretty much individualistic in our views, but this large and diverse variety of signers (including scholars of criminal law, feminist jurisprudence, and constitutional law) reflects our utmost concern about this judicial recall attempt," she wrote in an email to the Weekly.

Weisberg echoed that, and said that Stanford Law School professors in particular "may have been a little more motivated than others to express their opposition to the recall, lest the proi-recall view be imputed to the law school or lest people assume that silence from the law school faculty implied if not agreement with the recall, perhaps non-opposition to it."

A hearing on Persky's legal challenge is scheduled for this Wednesday. In advance of that, Dauber filed an objection Friday against the retired Orange County judge overseeing the case, Laird Carter.

"Unfortunately, the fact that Judge Carter would issue a prior restraint of protected First Amendment speech without any finding of a compelling government interest, and indeed without even letting us discuss the question, demonstrates that she does not have a sufficient appreciation for or does not fully understand the important First Amendment issues at stake in this case,” Dauber said, according to the San Jose Mercury News.

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Comments

44 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 18, 2017 at 9:56 pm

Why do these profs think judicial independence trumps public faith in the judicial system and its members? Seems to me independence will vanish quickly if public support, which is based on public faith, is eroded by perceptions of incompetence and class favoritism.

Persky must do the honorable thing and resign. He is damaged goods.


22 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 18, 2017 at 10:03 pm

Anyone else think that these letters that support the judge but do not explicitly support his judgement in this case are just a cop out?


33 people like this
Posted by Reader
a resident of Mountain View
on Aug 18, 2017 at 11:14 pm

"Anyone else think that these letters that support the judge but do not explicitly support his judgement in this case are just a cop out?"

No.


43 people like this
Posted by Still outraged
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 19, 2017 at 12:26 am

Michelle Dauber - we support your effort. Stand strong.

Persky is biased and incompetent and he embodies extreme lenience for rapists.

Folks, if that's not along the lines of what you consider justice, don't let law school faculty deter you.

Persky is an elected official and we have every right to recall him.

Please ... think of the rape victims. This lenience puts every woman in our community in danger.

A recall effort sends a message to judges ... that justice must prevail when it comes to rape. And that means that rapists must be punished appropriately for their violent acts.

With deep appreciation to Michelle Dauber for leading the recall effort.




43 people like this
Posted by Democrat
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 19, 2017 at 7:19 am

These law professors seem to miss the fact that Persky is an elected official and subject to review by the voters. Persky himself seems pretty clear on that fact. He hired Trump's Arizona campaign chair to run his campaign which gives me a pretty good idea where Persky is coming from.

Law professors closing ranks around a member of their club doesn't impress me. In the words of Persky's patron, he's one bad hombre.


72 people like this
Posted by the list
a resident of Stanford
on Aug 19, 2017 at 9:29 am

Democrat,

It is a reach to claim that the 90 law profs who penned this letter are members of Judge Persky's judge "club." Very, very few law professors see the inside of a court room.

The 90 opposing the recall campaign are California law professors and over half teach at Stanford or Santa Clara University Law Schools so likely get to vote like everyone else in the county.

Paul Brest is the former Dean of Stanford Law and a constitutional law expert. Professor Karlan is Stanford's go-to person for questions on election and constitutional laws and fair practices.

Santa Clara's Colleen Chien was a senior advisor in Obama's White House.

Erwin Chemerinsky, oft-cited constitutional law expert who is Dean of Berkeley Law, is there too.

Many are women.

This is an exceptionally impressive list of legal scholars who have a millennium + of legal expertise and thinking between them.

Don't summarily dismiss their view that fellow law professor Michele Dauber's recall campaign is misguided.




65 people like this
Posted by I agree
a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 19, 2017 at 10:20 am

The Professors make strong arguments. Despite the fact I didn't like his ruling, recalling judges for decisions like Persky's sets a dangerous precedent.


33 people like this
Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Aug 19, 2017 at 11:35 am

mauricio is a registered user.

Members of the club closing rank around one of their own is identical to cops closing rank around one of their own who behaved badly. Actually, it even strengthens my opinion that Persky should be recalled. Their opinion is worthless, because there isn't one scintilla of sincerity in it. It's all about circling the wagon and preventing the unwashed masses from having any say about how the exlusive club is run.


19 people like this
Posted by circular
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 19, 2017 at 11:41 am

Curmudgeon,

"Public support [of the judiciary], which is based on public faith, is eroded by perceptions of incompetence and class favoritism."

Your word "perceptions," rather than "evidence," is telling.

It appears that you've also noticed that the recall campaign's work includes forming, in addition to informing, public opinion. Far from the grassroots effort it may have started out as, it now is being lead by PR and strategy professionals including an expert in "creative media messaging," the author of "The Revolution ...the Overthrow of Everything" who its website says proudly is also a Fox News Contributor, and a woman it says who is "easily one of the most effective behind-the-scenes political operatives in the state." Web Link

It is circular logic to claim that public perceptions molded by a campaign run like this necessitate the outcome the campaign is pushing for.



11 people like this
Posted by Shirley
a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 19, 2017 at 12:04 pm

[Post removed.]


25 people like this
Posted by Joe
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 19, 2017 at 1:33 pm

> Dauber said it's "disappointing but not surprising that a group of law
> professors is siding with a judge against the constitutionally provided
> right of the people of this county to exercise democratic oversight of
> this elected official."

Dauber does not seem to believe that the voters can read this letter and understand it for what it is. The letter does not object to recall as a mechanism to remove corrupt judges, but does not lend credence to the claim that the "people should provide 'oversight' to the judiciary". The voters do have that "oversight" in those cases where judges hold elected positions--since these judges stand for re-election periodically. The issue upon which the judges are commenting is whether the voters have a constitutional right to remove state officers simply because of "dissatisfaction".

The California Constitution is very vague about what should trigger a recall. The process seems to be laid out in Article 2 of the Constitution:

Web Link

As it turns out, only one, or two, judges have been removed for cause, since 1911. A number of judges have come under scrutiny for criminal violations of the law. But removing judges because of their political affiliation, or their lawful adjudication of the law does not seem to have happened, to date.

It's hard to read into this letter a sense that the signatories don't believe the voters don't have a right to recall a judge, just that using this power irresponsibly can set the stage for attacks on the judiciary by political groups, such as we've seen so many attacks on our police in the past few years.

Dauber's comments above can only be seen as self-serving, and not objectively reflective of the judge's letter.


17 people like this
Posted by Abitarian
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 19, 2017 at 2:05 pm

Regardless of what the judges say, the people have the right to remove Mr. Persky from his elected office if the majority of Santa Clara County voters show up to indicate this is their will.

Of course, the law for conducting petitions and recall elections should be followed. It sounds like there is some gray area surrounding the interpretation of the law. If so, this will be decided by judges, perhaps giving an advantage to their brother-in-robes.

It certainly seems like there is enough to support to get this recall to the ballot. Unfortunately, the costs of any delays that will necessitate a special election, will be paid by us taxpayers.

I would not predict the results of this election, which is going to happen, sooner or later, and certainly not based on the opinions posted on this forum.


50 people like this
Posted by Mary
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 19, 2017 at 2:52 pm

Judge Persky sentenced Turner according to the recommendations of the (woman) Parole Officer assigned to the case and in line with sentencing guidelines. I think the sentencing guidelines are much too lenient in cases like this and that Turner should have been punished much more severely. But it's hard to fault Persky for following the guidelines and outside "expert" advice of the Parole dept. We ought to work to change the sentencing guidelines - and punishment for these kinds of crimes - through the normal legislative process.

Those wishing to oust Persky [portion removed] ought to consider the wider implications of attempting to harness the emotions of a riled up populace.

The law's norms and expectation that judges will follow them are what protects disfavored minorities and eventually us all from mob justice. This is a primary reason sentencing guidelines exist. Most people around here are likely sensitive to the treatment blacks in the South once experienced in the Southern "justice" system.

As a thought experiment consider how you might have reacted if instead of Turner, Persky had a black defendant in his courtroom convicted of exactly the same crime as Turner. Would we all be really happy if Persky had ignored the Parole dept recommendations and the sentencing guidelines and given the black defendant 5 or 10 years in prison? Or would we suspect that racism or some other invidious motivation had been involved?

We won't like a system where judges play to the mob when deciding cases.


14 people like this
Posted by Mom
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Aug 19, 2017 at 3:31 pm

I think Professor Michele Dauber is doing a great job. Now more than 90 professors, including a significant number of professors from Stanford, are paying attentions for such a light case enough for them to sign a letter together. It doesn't really matter whether a local judge lose his job or not so much, but I have a good feeling that the problem in the system will be moving forward greatly with this movement.

Keeping Judge Persky's job doesn't mean rapes by Stanford athletes can be treated lightly, not to say. I hope they don't get the wrong idea. It's sad that I have to worry about it.


30 people like this
Posted by Roberto
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Aug 19, 2017 at 9:42 pm

"Regardless of what the judges say, the people have the right to remove Mr. Persky from his elected office..."

The judges aren't denying that the people have the right to remove Persky, they are saying it is a bad idea. We also have the right to elect a total idiot to be president of the US, but it isn't a good idea.


4 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 19, 2017 at 11:09 pm

"Your word "perceptions," rather than "evidence," is telling."

Perception of rightdoing by elected officials is everything in a democracy. Until we achieve the ideal of all-just Philosopher Kings, democracy is the best we got.


23 people like this
Posted by Vote YES on the RECALL
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 20, 2017 at 12:01 am

Curmudgeon is correct in that there is a strain of elitism and paternalism that is disturbing in this letter.

More than that, there is a misleading character as well. The professors write "The mechanism of recall was designed for and must be limited to cases where judges are corrupt or incompetent or exhibit bias that leads to systematic injustice in their courtrooms."

That's just not true.

Let's start with the text, for you "textualist" signers. The recall is an absolute and unqualified right of the voters. The Constitution specifically provides that the reason for the recall is not even subject to any review. The voters can recall a judge or any other elected official for any reason or for no reason at all. Of course it would be hard to get 90,000 signatures for no reason at all. But if 90,000 people have lost confidence in the judgment of a public official sufficient to sign the petition that is a perfectly valid reason for placing them on a ballot and up to a vote. And that is what our Constitution provides.

As to the "original intent" of the recall, they are wrong there too. The recall was a tool of progressive good government liberals against the powerful patronage machines and control of powerful interest groups over the courts. It was a tool that was intended to give power to the people, literally, to hold officials accountable including the courts.

The very first application of the judicial recall in California, after it was adopted in 1911, was by the Clubwomen of San Francisco, against a judge, Charles Weller, who was lenient toward rapists.

Finally, the real crux of the professors' objections is hidden in their statement that recall is in their opinion only to be used "where judges are corrupt or incompetent or exhibit bias that leads to systematic injustice in their courtrooms."

Apparently these law professors do not believe bias against women is bias, or that what has happened to all the women Persky has mistreated is "systematic injustice."

The people of Santa Clara County disagree.

The professors have misstated the law, and misstated the history. They had misstated the facts too, it seems. But they have accurately rendered their own complete disregard for women.


8 people like this
Posted by Joe
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 20, 2017 at 12:21 am

> Democracy is all that we have ..

Democracy brought us the French Revolution--with its guillotine and tumbrels
Democracy brought us the American Civil War.
Democracy brought us Prohibition.
Democracy brought us Adolph Hitler, and WWII.

A lot of bad things have resulted from "democracy" (and or mob rule).

For better or worse, our Founding Fathers designed the government to be a Representative Republic, based on democratic ideas. After all these years, it still is a Republic and not a Democracy.


12 people like this
Posted by Vote YES on the RECALL
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 20, 2017 at 12:23 am

I do not think being against democracy or telling voters the are too dumb to think for themselves and vote is likely to win you a ton of votes but sure go for it.


22 people like this
Posted by Joe
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 20, 2017 at 12:28 am

> The people of Santa Clara County disagree.

Not yet. What is obvious from the contributions reported to the FPPC is that a lot of money is being siphoned from sources all over the country--trying to create a sense of outrage about this judge that is not clear from the small number of people contributing to this Recall from within the county (almost 2M).

It's a shame that the law allows people outside of a jurisdiction to contribute to a Recall--since they can not vote on the matter. So, why should they be able to create a false narrative about the matter with their money?


20 people like this
Posted by Vote YES on the RECALL
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 20, 2017 at 12:38 am

That is also a misrepresentation. Over 2/3 of the funds are from Santa Clara and San Mateo and nearly all of it is from the Bay Area.

Why don't you try to win the election by talking about the strengths of your candidate instead of telling lies about the recall or insulting democracy or the voters, or mudslinging or name calling. Just tell the voters why your candidate is the best person for the job.

I know why I am voting Yes. I am voting Yes because I think the first requirement for the job of judge is having good judgment and he doesn't. He has mishandled case after case involving sex crimes and violence against women, particularly where the assailants are college athletes or privileged. Meanwhile, he has done great harm to victims, often women of color. He doesn't get it.

He has also shown terrible judgment in how he has run this campaign. By hiring Donald Trump's Arizona State Director he has again exhibited contempt for women, particularly women of color. He should resign and save voters the trouble of voting him out, but I would imagine that his supporters have convinced him that he's some kind of hero or martyr. He's not. He's just a guy who was bad at his job and soon he won't have it anymore. He is the James Damore of the Santa Clara County bench.

I'm sure you have a positive case. Why don't you make it?


32 people like this
Posted by yet again
a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 20, 2017 at 8:26 am

"Apparently these law professors do not believe bias against women is bias, or that what has happened to all the women Persky has mistreated is "systematic injustice." "

This was investigated and no bias was found. You can't claim bias when none exists. So your whole argument for the recall collapses.

As you're very well aware, this is simply about one case with no evidence of bias shown.

Sure, as you've stated, you don't need any reason for a recall. You can just get the signatures and go for it. But then you're just playing into the exact argument the law professors are making.


11 people like this
Posted by History buff
a resident of Stanford
on Aug 20, 2017 at 9:50 am

In 1788

Pitted against Alexander Hamilton, Convention Delegate Gilbert Livingston proposed adding a recall clause to the Constitution, concerned that there was "little or no check" on senators who serve a six year term.

Alexander Hamilton staunchly opposed it. The recall, he said, "will render the senator a slave to all the capricious humors among the people... In whatever body the power of recall is vested, the senator will perpetually feel himself in such a state of vassalage and dependence, that he never can posses that firmness which is necessary to the discharge of his great duty to the Union." Web Link


11 people like this
Posted by Vote YES on the RECALL
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 20, 2017 at 10:34 am

Remind me when Alexander Hamilton was Treasury Secretary of California?

The California Constitution is very clear on what the recall provisions are and what they mean. The contemporaneous implementation of those provisions demonstrates that the law professors are not history professors.

It is fine to wish to amend the California Constitution -- which is that their letter amounts to. They should pursue that. They should do it without lying about what the current law is, or what the rights of the people reserved under the current Constitution actually are.


14 people like this
Posted by Joe
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 20, 2017 at 10:46 am

> That is also a misrepresentation. Over 2/3 of the funds are from
> Santa Clara and San Mateo and nearly all of it is from the Bay Area.

Based on the information the Post published from the FPPC filings of a month ago, or so, the contributions of the Yes-On-Recall originating from Santa Clara County was only about 35% of the total collections. About 25% of the total dollars contributed came from fewer than 10 people.

But more to the point--only Santa Clara County residents will be voting on this matter--not San Mateo residents nor residents from the greater Bay Area. Trying to claim that these people have as much right to demand the Recall of a sitting Santa Clara County judge goes a long way to explain the support for this action. Since they are not residents, their voices and money should not be allowed to be involved in this debate.


7 people like this
Posted by Vote YES on the RECALL
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 20, 2017 at 11:11 am

Joe, you are looking at a three month window of fundraising so what you are saying is incorrect. The recall has thousands of individual donations. The totals I posted earlier are accurate. You are posting fake facts. [Portion removed.]

As to whether or not the women of adjoining counties should be able to throw their $10 or $20 into the campaign, I suggest you complain to your Assemblymembers and ask them to change the law to prohibit any donation to any political campaign from outside the county or district in which it is occurring. I think that the Dems and organized labor would strongly disagree with your really dumb idea.

That would also wipe out a lot of Judge Persky's donations from his fellow judges all over the state. Perhaps you should ask him before you start waving this argument around.


12 people like this
Posted by Joe
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 20, 2017 at 11:57 am

> fake facts

[Portion removed.]

The main point still stands. San Mateo residents, or anyone else outside of Santa Clara County, will not be voting--unless of course, they do, rendering the election results dodgy.

Noticed this Wikipage on Persky:
Web Link

The Judge has had a well-balanced legal career--working for both the private sector and the Santa Clara DA's office before becoming a judge. People who don't know much about Judge Persky are encouraged to take the time to read through the Wikipage, and review the references at the end of the page.

It is unfortunate that some people are trying to drag Trump into this matter. Trump has nothing to do with it. Given the hysteria about Trump's being a "NAZI", one can only wonder how long it will be before people are tarring Persky with the nonsense of national politics. Persky has been a judge here in Santa Clara County for about 13 years--having been appointed by Gov. Gray Davis in 2003. Persky was re-elected in 2016.

Hopefully, the Judge will be able to produce a list of cases over which he presided during his career, offering the public a clear vision of how he has performed in the job. Attorneys who have presented cases in his court should be interviewed about their views about how he presided over their cases. It would help to see how he applied sentencing guidelines in his cases. This information would provide voters what they need.

[Portion removed.]


1 person likes this
Posted by Abitarian
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 20, 2017 at 2:37 pm

I wrote:

"Regardless of what the judges say, the people have the right to remove Mr. Persky from his elected office..."

I meant judges and law professors, but in any event...

Roberto wrote:

"The judges aren't denying that the people have the right to remove Persky, they are saying it is a bad idea. We also have the right to elect a total idiot to be president of the US, but it isn't a good idea."

Now, I write:

Despite the sizable number of elected officials in service to municipal, county, and state governments -- and the frequently high levels of disapproval among the citizenship with the performance of these officials -- recall petitions and elections are rare. The last I can remember is the 2003 recall of CA governor Gray Davis.

So, when enough citizens get sufficiently riled to mount such a campaign, it is worth doing one's own investigation into the matter, rather than relying on the opinions of those who may have motivations contrary to those of the people.

BTW, I agree most strongly that electing Trump was not a good idea, but don't equate the level of "badness" of that event with the potential "badness" of recalling Persky.


1 person likes this
Posted by Gary
a resident of Mountain View
on Aug 20, 2017 at 8:35 pm

The starting point for consideration of a recall (signing a petition or voaung if it reaches the ballot) should be the statement of grounds by proponents and the targeted officeholder's response. Each is limited to 200 words. As to the dispute about the lawful procedure for recalling a Superior Court judge, there could be a ruling by an out-of-county and personally "retired" Superior Court judge hearing the challenge(s) as soon as August 23.


29 people like this
Posted by Fair Play
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 20, 2017 at 10:03 pm

Gosh! 29 Law Professors from Stanford University, the law school that Michelle Dauber teaches at, signed a letter opposing her vendetta against Judge Persky? Might make you think! These are, after all, highly educated people, as, I'm sure, is professor Dauber. Now, I can't say I'm a big fan of large numbers, but this one caught my eye. This was in contrast to the hysterical, knee-jerk response to Judge Persky's ruling in the Brock Turner case, where large numbers of people reacted to headlines and misleading assertions by a small and fanatical group trying to pervert the course of justice, even though they were dealing with a real issue that deserves thoughtful and careful attention.

I wish these folks had read the available information in the case, including the probation officer's recommendations and the documents that were publicly available, but, judging from the arguments, if one could call them that, on these threads, and the public comments in various papers, I'd guess they didn't.

Of course, anyone can contribute money to either side of this issue. Of course, judges can be recalled under the law. Oh, and by the way, Judge Persky and his campaign also have a right to challenge procedures under the law as well Sorry, Palo Alto Weekly! Your argument does not hold water. And yes, only Santa Clara County voters will decide this issue.

I hope they vote wisely, and don't succumb to the hysteria that threatens the independence of our thoughtful, well-trained, and admirable judiciary!


6 people like this
Posted by Vote YES on the RECALL
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Aug 21, 2017 at 9:12 am

@FairPlay
The use of the word "hysterical" multiple times in your very angry post makes it clear where you stand on gender bias. The voters do not share your perspective and attacking a respected female law professor and the women who support this recall as "hysterical" just shows Persky's contempt for women voters. Women are not going to be intimidated out of supporting this campaign and your sexism just makes us more committed. [Portion removed.]


Like this comment
Posted by Gary
a resident of Mountain View
on Aug 21, 2017 at 10:41 am

Use of the word "hysterical" by the poster may suggest gender bias. But Judge Persky surely is not the poster.


4 people like this
Posted by Vote YES on the RECALL
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 21, 2017 at 11:14 am

@Gary

Judge Persky hired Donald Trump's Arizona State Director and long-time Republican operative Brian Seitchik to run his campaign. You should all be ashamed of associating with him. I am not sure how public defenders are rationalizing that one. No one is surprised that at the sexist terms in which the proponents are being described -- Judge Persky literally hired Donald Trump's operative. What did you think he would say about women?

[Portion removed.]

If you are a Persky supporter and you do not repudiate Brian Seitchik and all he stands for in Arizona, this is going to negatively affect your own personal reputation. Good luck with that.

Why don't you just have a fair fight on the issues like the Constitution requires? What are you afraid of?


6 people like this
Posted by Fake News
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 21, 2017 at 11:46 am

Joe sez "It is unfortunate that some people are trying to drag Trump into this matter. Trump has nothing to do with it."

Umm, except that Persky hired Trump's Arizona campaign director for Persky's campaign.

What has this to do with a bunch of law professors? They have the same lack of concern for bias against women that Trump and Persky do.

They also have the same lack of regard for the truth. For example, they write that ""The mechanism of recall was designed for and must be limited to cases where judges are corrupt or incompetent or exhibit bias that leads to systematic injustice in their courtrooms." Except there's no evidence for that because it's not true. The law explicitly says that the recall may be for any reason and is not reviewable.

Sad!


8 people like this
Posted by SC County is not an island
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 21, 2017 at 11:56 am

To all those that are arguing that no one outside of Santa Clara County should be able to donate funds to the recall effort:

1) How judges sentence those convicted of sexual assault become precedent over time, and the precedent spreads. Those in San Mateo County and the rest of the Bay Area, California, and the country have every right to be concerned about a judge who continually protects violent offenders and forsakes female victims/survivors.

2) People from out SC County actually, occasionally, may find themselves spending time here, or even just traveling through, and therefore have every right to be concerned about what might happen to them while they are here. Should they be a victim of a crime in SC County, it's quite reasonable for them to want to do what they can do not find themselves as a repeat victim of a biased judge.

3) No one is complaining about all of the lawyers and judges from all over the state that are closing ranks with one of their brethren, no doubt in large part as a self-serving effort to protect their own behinds should this crazy idea of a recall catch on as a reasonable way to hold elected officials accountable.

Santa Clara County is not an island, and it is completely reasonable for many people outside the county to care about, and want to influence, the outcome.


6 people like this
Posted by A Double Standard
a resident of another community
on Aug 21, 2017 at 12:18 pm

Years ago and while attending college in another state, I moonlighted as a male/stripper dancer for (women only) bachelorette/birthday parties. On one occasion, I was sexually assaulted by some intoxicated (and somewhat distasteful women) who couldn't draw the line in terms of controlling their behavior.

I ended up in the ER and the attending physician contacted law enforcement based on my external bruises. When the case finally went to court, the judge just laughed it off and said that any man who cannot adequately defend himself against a woman is a weenie. Case dismissed.

There was no judicial recall so perhaps this controversy is much ado about conventional beliefs.

Curious. What is Professor Dauber's vested interest in all of this? Is she a publicity seeker or someone with aspirations for public office?


8 people like this
Posted by Fake News
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 21, 2017 at 12:30 pm

"A Double Standard" -- Thank you for reminding us that what-aboutism is not just reserved for Trump's defense of Nazis. What about the judge in some probably imaginary case from some anonymous poster? Doesn't that prove...something?

Also, thank you for posing the very interesting question, "What is Professor Dauber's vested interest in all of this? Is she a publicity seeker or someone with aspirations for public office?" Particularly helpful is defining the question so that we don't have to wonder whether she's doing this because she thinks Persky is a biased judge and the citizens of Santa Clara County deserve better.

Lest you all think that Trump's style of "argumentation" is reserved to national politics.




2 people like this
Posted by SC County is not an island
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 21, 2017 at 12:39 pm

@Double Standard: Thank you for reminding us that not only women are victims of sexual assault. The judge in your case should have been recalled for his obvious and harmful bias.


1 person likes this
Posted by Orin Bailey
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 21, 2017 at 1:03 pm

Why is Donald Trump being dragged into this conversation? It's trivializing the crux of the topic/discussion and making it sound more like a NOW convention.

As far as 'Double Standard' is concerned, judicial bias is commonplace when it comes to sexual and domestic violence. Men are expected to be able to protect themselves, women less so. Some men were raised not to strike back at a woman and can easily be perceived by police/courts as wimps. If they do, they are often considered violent offenders towards the opposite sex. On the other hand, a woman who attacks some guy or strikes back is often viewed as assertive and/or defending her 'womanhood'. Go figure.







6 people like this
Posted by Fake News
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 21, 2017 at 1:23 pm

Aaron Persky hired Trump's Arizona state director. Trump didn't need to be "dragged" into this conversation. The rest of your post speaks for itself.


14 people like this
Posted by Vote YES on the RECALL
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 21, 2017 at 2:41 pm

California Attorney General and Secretary of State just intervened against Persky and on the side of the recall campaign.

Web Link

Once this frivolous litigation is over, I wonder how the voters will feel about paying the bill for it.

Judge Persky, just resign and stop wasting taxpayer money.


7 people like this
Posted by Vote NO on the RECALL
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 21, 2017 at 2:44 pm

"We won't like a system where judges play to the mob when deciding cases."

Absolutely. Every time that's been tried before it's turned out badly.

If you've got an issue with the system, fix the system. One individual case won't do anything.


14 people like this
Posted by Democrat
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 21, 2017 at 2:51 pm

Persky is an elected official. He's already subject to the will of the voters. He knows this, he lost his first election.

The fact that he hired a Trump operative to run his campaign makes it pretty clear how he thinks about women. I'll be enthusiasically pulling the lever to vote him out of office.


Like this comment
Posted by SC County is not an island
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 21, 2017 at 3:38 pm

@Vote NO:

>> If you've got an issue with the system, fix the system. One individual case won't do anything.

This one individual case has already prompted a new state law. Hopefully, this one individual case will serve to remove a biased judge and remind all of the others that their "independence" only goes as far as serving the will of the people that elected them.


14 people like this
Posted by Don't Recall
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 21, 2017 at 3:43 pm

Thank you, each 93 law professors, for injecting a giant dose of reason into this emotion laden matter. Recall was never met for the purpose that Dauber has convinced her sincere followers that it should be used for. This morning I read of the Dem State Senator from Fullerton who voted for the state gas tax. He is now the target of a recall campaign that may take him down because a lot of people are angry about his vote. Or targeting a judged because he followed the procedures and recommendations and it made some very angry. Recall was never intended for this.

[Portion removed.]


Like this comment
Posted by Orin Bailey
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 21, 2017 at 3:53 pm

[Post removed.]


4 people like this
Posted by Fake history
a resident of Palo Verde
on Aug 21, 2017 at 5:33 pm

Actually this is exactly what the recall was made for.


3 people like this
Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 21, 2017 at 5:39 pm

Annette is a registered user.

IF Judge Persky hadn't removed himself from hearing criminal cases and IF he hadn't been cleared of judicial misconduct/bias in the Turner case and IF he hadn't been following guidelines and a critical recommendation when sentencing Turner and IF the Turner case hadn't already resulted in AB701 which redefines rape and IF taking him out would result in changes in sentencing and IF 91 law professors from 13 California law schools [including ~1/3 of Ms. Dauber's own colleagues at Stanford - the directory for Stanford Law lists 90 faculty names] did not oppose this recall, and IF an independent judiciary didn't matter as much as it does, Ms. Dauber's crusade might make more sense to me.

As is, I am more concerned about what happens if the recall succeeds as I fear it will be a Pyrrhic victory. The time, effort, and money would, I think, be better spent working on revised legislation.


16 people like this
Posted by Fake history
a resident of Palo Verde
on Aug 21, 2017 at 6:00 pm

IF Persky wasn't biased against women and IF he hadn't allied himself with Trump's campaign and IF I cared that 90 or 900 law professors think lawyers and judges should be above the law -- I would agree. But I don't.

The panic among Persky defenders tells me I'm probably in the majority.


5 people like this
Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 21, 2017 at 7:22 pm

Annette is a registered user.

@Fake History - I readily accept that law professors know more about the law than I do and find it telling that so many are concerned (not panicked) about the impact a successful recall will have on our judiciary. Lest anyone conflate opposition to the recall with anything other than what it is, please note that the letter clearly states that the professors wrote "in strong opposition to the campaign to recall . . ." and that "some of the signers . . . might have chosen a different result".

We cannot change what happened that horrible night and we cannot change Turner's sentence. But we can stop ourselves from undermining the value of an independent judiciary.


2 people like this
Posted by A Noun Ea Mus
a resident of Professorville
on Aug 22, 2017 at 3:44 am

Judge Persky was just following the established Playbook. Had Brock been a person of color from oh say EPA, no doubt he'd be in prison for a number of years. But as Brock was a person with a bright white future he got sentenced to something else. So no doubt the established legal profession reacts in horror that their routine decision making standard now is held up to scutiny and (finally) well deserved disdain and contempt. In a way yes voting for judges (and especially prosecutors) if fraught with risk, but so too appointment. Since judges can be elected they should also be able to be recalled. Hopefully the upcoming election will throw this judge out of office. And serve as notice to other judges that the times are changing. The only question perhaps is----will they still continue to throw the book at people of color and then also ratchet up the punishment for the wealthier whites, OR perhaps meet in the middle where both the victim gets justice and consideration given for rehab for the per. ?


4 people like this
Posted by Mom
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Aug 22, 2017 at 6:49 am

Annette said in her comment that "The time, effort, and money would, I think, be better spent working on revised legislation."

Do you think this is the first time people noticed the problem?
They couldn't solve the flaw by the energy saving way.
Usually we need way more efforts and energy to change something which is settled, more than we think it should need to.

Whether Judge Persky is recalled successfully or not, this movement is making a great impact in our society. I really would like to follow it up to the conclusion.


9 people like this
Posted by Fake history
a resident of Palo Verde
on Aug 22, 2017 at 7:14 am

Annette sez, "some of the signers . . . might have chosen a different result". In other words, even Persky's defenders can't defend his decision in the Turner case. What they are really saying is that bias against women is less important to them than standing with a member of their club.

Gross.


2 people like this
Posted by where are we now?
a resident of Esther Clark Park
on Aug 22, 2017 at 7:24 am

Fake sez: "What they are really saying is that bias against women"

This has become the recall's campaign big lie. They believe that repeating it often enough will make people believe it is true. Unfortunately for them, Persky was investigated by an independent state organization and no bias was found.

It's ironic that the Editor on the Weekly allows them to continue post patently untrue statements onto their forums.


8 people like this
Posted by Fake history
a resident of Palo Verde
on Aug 22, 2017 at 8:15 am

Straight out of the Trump playbook. The "independent" state organization is actually the Commission on Judicial Performance. It's made up of lawyers, is under a state audit for performance and financial problems, and addresses misconduct, not bias.

So do you support Persky's decision in the Turner case?


5 people like this
Posted by Fair Play
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 23, 2017 at 11:06 am

Goodness gracious, Yes on Recall, did you miss the fact that the word "hysterical" in modern usage can apply to males AND females; indeed, to all genders? Sorry to have to tell you this: Your campaign surely includes more than just women, but the excessive and misplaced emotions you are playing on do deserve the label. Indeed, my feminist daughters would find your accusations of sexism on my part to be "hysterically" funny!

What is not so funny is your repeated use of propaganda techniques to confuse the issues. For example, can you really blame Judge Persky for the cost of this election, whenever it might take place? It's your group that's funding this unjustified (in my opinion, of course!) recall campaign!

Again, you accuse Judge Persky's supporters of "telling lies about the recall or insulting democracy or the voters, or mudslinging or name calling." Then you desperately try to associate his campaign with Trump's terrible reputation in this state. I've hired people whose politics I disagree with because they do a good job in their area, but that doesn't make me a supporter of their politics or candidates! Guilt by association?

Finally, you say that "He [Persky] has mishandled case after case involving sex crimes and violence against women, particularly where the assailants are college athletes or privileged. Meanwhile, he has done great harm to victims, often women of color. He doesn't get it." You can sling this kind of accusation around all you want, but your words are woefully short of supporting facts. I've followed this issue and read a lot of background on it, and Judge Persky looks to me like a highly qualified judge who exhibits the judicial temperament we as citizens expect in our judiciary.

I urge you to come up with facts to support your incendiary opinions, so this issue can be explored rationally and fairly!


1 person likes this
Posted by black and white
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Aug 23, 2017 at 11:37 am

@Fake History,

Web Link

"The commission, an independent state agency that is responsible for investigating claims of misconduct, said it found no evidence of bias in Persky’s conduct and announced that it had closed its investigation."


Like this comment
Posted by .wnage
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Aug 23, 2017 at 9:06 pm

@Black & White,
Perfect response! Unfortunately "Fake History" is unlikely to understand the irony of his online name and the first sentence of his post in light of the LA Time's article!


4 people like this
Posted by Linda Curtis
a resident of another community
on Sep 1, 2017 at 11:34 am

Do not sign the recall: the judge's decision fails to meet the criteria for recall. And the victim of the crime said to begin with that she did NOT want the guilty party to rot in jail...


4 people like this
Posted by Feminist
a resident of another community
on Nov 4, 2017 at 1:08 pm

Clergy Community:


Feminist: While every person is entitled to her own opinion, one sexual assault survivor cannot pretend to be the voice for all sexual assault survivors. I am a professional mental health provider and a mother of two. The purpose of the recall is not to intimidate judges. Its purpose is to give back the power to Santa Clara County voters to choose if they want to keep up with corrupted judges that give sentences based on the race, gender, and social economic status of the criminal in front of them. Slavery used to be legal and socially accepted; it is not anymore. In the same way, judges' power to sentence based on their biases must not be tolerated any more.
Most of my clients through the years are from low socio economic status from all ethnic groups. They all have received outrageous treatment in court regardless of their ethnic group. Most of them are part of the low socio economic group. Judge Persky has given lenient sentences to males of high social economic status. I personally experienced gender discrimination while reporting my ex-husband for child porn. I found child porn images in his personal computer. I reported to the Gilroy police (currently involved in their own sexual scandal), and to family court judges (all ignored allegations). My ex husband formerly worked for the San Jose Police Department and was at that time working for the Santa Clara County Sheriff Department. My understanding is that he still works for the Sheriff. This was reported to Lori Smith, Dave Cortese, and other judicial and law enforcement officials. Ex husband had good connection with Master judges and others with judicial power. Corrupted commissioner Irwin Joseph (who I trashed on line) used to ask me to impress him when giving me my turn to speak in the family court hearings (He chose early retirement).
People in my life who had been victims of sexual assault have struggled with addictions, suicidal attempts, and other serious conditions. Thus, not everyone has your fortunate outcome Ms. feminist and teacher. I am in favor of criminals receiving treatment that would help them be healthy and productive community members once they are out of jail. I am not in favor of them receiving three months in jail for raping a person. I have a 19 year old son. If he ever engages in such crime, I will make sure he will spend more than three months in jail and intense psychological treatment. Rapists are seriously mentally ill individuals. Those that engage in watching child porn too since they are receiving sexual gratification out of the outrageous sexual abuse and suffering of a innocent and defenseless child. Persky gave a male who was found guilty of felony child porn only four days in jail!!! I have a list of all of you. YOU CAN OPT FOR EARLY RETIREMENT.
To conclude, for those that believe those supporting Michele are stupid feminist females, you are wrong! We are all women with our own minds and experiences. We all have a strong reason for working on recalling Persky. What we all have in common is being nonconformist about societal status quo that promotes women and minorities discrimination and abuse. If God is with me, who is against me?


Like this comment
Posted by Feminist
a resident of another community
on Nov 4, 2017 at 1:15 pm

Feminist is a professional Bay Area mental health professional, QPR institute Suicide Prevention Trained Clergy, member of Psi-Chi and Golden Key Honor societies in addition to other national and international societies, former anointed teacher and junior pastor, social justice activist.

[Portion removed.]


1 person likes this
Posted by Justice
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 4, 2017 at 1:52 pm

The right to vote where judges are concerned is never that helpful so long as the information on how judges conduct themselves on the bench is not easily available from a reliable source. If there were a reliable place to get such information, and voters could see for themselves that a judge has a pattern of leniency toward sex offenders, or always rules against ordinary people in favor of corporations, for example, this would be far more powerful. Typically when judges go up on a ballot, it's a formality, because of such a lack of information. I wish the response to this miscarriage of justice had been to do that, provide the kind of information that would make all judicial elections a democratic check/balance. As it is, all the opponents of the recall had to do was cast doubt on the recall. It's going to be tough to win, and a lot of effort. I just wish those for whom it is a righteous cause would have instead reformed the system by providing a resource of comprehensive information about judges to help voters. Ultimately, this could do far more for justice.

When an election like this is perceived as a precedent, regardless of what happens, the consequences are likely to be negative for processes that make the judiciary improve in the ways the proponents of the recall ostensibly want. I wish they had taken a bigger view and directed their energy at really presenting the judicial records of all judges in a way that allows people to decide in every election.


2 people like this
Posted by George
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 10, 2017 at 4:48 pm

This whole sad affair has spun way, way out of control and for much too long. [Portion removed.] This has never been about whether the judgement and punishments were appropriate. This has been about [portion removed] activists who can’t accept the professional judgements of the people in our court system. [Portion removed.]

This isn’t a case of corruption or crimes on the bench, this is social activism and revenge reaching far to deeply into the courthouse. Hopefully, the voters will see it for what it is.


Like this comment
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 12, 2017 at 2:33 am

It seems to me that these judges are protecting themselves in a way, or
the possibility that they will not have the freedom to make decisions that
are unpopular and will be safe from public review. Clouding the issue with
comments about judicial independence when mostly they are insulating
themselves and their profession from public opinion.

Despite the last Presidential election, the public is not always wrong, and
insulating people by law from their mistakes or incompetence is not a good
policy. The expression the United States is a country of laws not men needs
to be lived up to.

After seeing problems with class favoritism in various dimensions the people
now are starting to realize that they need to weigh in strongly that this classism
and sexism is something that will not longer be tolerated, and pompous claims
about Constitutionalism, must as they have weight to most of us Americans,
has come to mean institutional corruption in too many cases now, and we need
intervention in some cases.

When you can ask yourself what would happen to different people if they committed
the same crime and you see a wide difference in the answer, then support must
be given to different channels to fix the problem. When we actually have a problem
with judicial independence .. then we can deal with that like we are dealing with
the problem of judicial corruption now.

And also just like the charges of sexual predation by privileged people have been
hidden until just recently, the lack of complaints does not signify competence,
it may just signify an even worse problem where institutionally a classist agenda
is entrenched so hard it cannot be even mentioned.


1 person likes this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Professorville
on Nov 12, 2017 at 8:35 am

I have never been a big fan of Dauber. 90 professors just proved it.


Like this comment
Posted by look it up
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 12, 2017 at 8:40 am

"It seems to me that these judges are protecting themselves in a way, or the possibility that they will not have the freedom to make decisions that are unpopular"

Your post shows exactly why this effort is a threat to judicial independence:
"This insulation is referred to as judicial independence, and it allows them to make decisions based on what is right under the law, without facing political (not getting reelected) or personal (getting fired, having their salary lowered) consequences for the decisions they make."


2 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Community Center
on Nov 12, 2017 at 10:02 am

But in California they are elected, and it is our right and duty to assess them at the ballot box. If you disagree, you can change the constitution. For now, I plan to vote him off the bench;his judgment is terrible.


Like this comment
Posted by kid
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 13, 2017 at 10:45 am

They have made it clear where they stand and why people need to drop support. Look at the ones who did not sign and support them.


1 person likes this
Posted by abuse or process
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 13, 2017 at 7:50 pm

@Resident,

Yes, in California, it is our right to recall a judge for any reason or no reason at all.


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

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