Despite the fact that attorney Angela Storey opposes the effort to recall Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky, she has decided to run for his seat in the June election.
Storey, who has represented clients in personal injury and tenant-landlord cases at a private practice since 2013, pulled on Feb. 7 a petition to gather signatures for her candidacy in the judicial recall.
The recall measure qualified for the June 5 ballot late last month and was formally approved by the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors earlier this month. The campaign working to unseat Persky alleges he has shown a pattern of bias against women and defendants of color in sexual-violence cases, starting with his sentencing of former Stanford University student Brock Turner in 2016.
Storey said in an interview that Turner's sentence — six months in county jail for sexually assaulting an unconscious, intoxicated woman outside a Stanford fraternity party — was within the law. She declined to comment on whether she agreed with the sentence.
"From my perspective, a judge's job is to make difficult choices and to make rulings that people aren't going to always agree with," she said. "We don't want our judges necessarily looking over their shoulders trying to gauge public opinion."
She saw the legislative changes that came as a result of the case -- a law establishing a mandatory prison sentence of three to eight years for anyone convicted of sexually assaulting an unconscious person -- were positive.
If the recall succeeds, Storey said voters need to have a fair, experienced candidate to appoint as Persky's replacement.
"We need a judge who's got a diverse experience in the legal field who understands not just criminal but also civil (case) and somebody who has a temperament to ensure everybody in that courtroom is going to be treated fairly," she said.
Storey, who was born and raised in Sunnyvale, earned an undergraduate degree in international economics from the University of California, Los Angeles, and her law degree from the Santa Clara University School of Law.
Her first job was working as a trial attorney for Farmers Insurance. She then worked on construction and business litigation for several years before returning to Farmers Insurance.
In 2013, she joined her husband's law firm, now called the Law Offices of Storey & Storey.
Storey was also president of the Santa Clara County Trial Lawyers Association for the last two years and is a member of the Santa Clara County Bar Association's civil practice committee. For several years, she ran the Santa Clara County Office of Education and the Santa Clara County Bar Association's high school mock trial program. (Persky was a lawyer in that program, she said.)
Storey also volunteers as a judge pro tem for small claims in Santa Clara County and as an early settlement conference neutral, or mediator, for civil cases.
Storey said she was considering becoming a judge prior to the recall; she started working on an judicial application to submit to the governor about two years ago and filed it in May.
Storey joins one other candidate so far in the recall race: Cindy Hendrickson, a Santa Clara County assistant district attorney.
Recall candidates are required to file a declaration of intention with the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters between Feb. 21 and March 2. They will then file for election during a nomination period from March 7-22.