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Brock Turner judge responds to recall

Original post made on Jul 2, 2017

Aaron Persky, the Santa Clara County judge who is facing a recall after his controversial sentencing of former Stanford University student Brock Turner last summer, spoke out for the first time on Friday in a statement filed with the county Registrar of Voters.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Sunday, July 2, 2017, 11:18 AM

Comments (66)

Posted by Marrol
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jul 2, 2017 at 12:18 pm

Judge Persky followed the "rule of law" in sentencing this controversial case. The outcome had much more to do with sentencing parameters and probation reports than it did with judicial discretion.

I have noted in the past that I have little or no doubt that those calling for Judge Persky's recall are many of the same people who voted in favor of recent legislation that redefined and lowered the threshold of what constitutes a violent crime, reduced sentencing parameters, and jail/state prison early release requirements. This is the "new normal" of how crime and punishment is being handled. You can't have it both ways, nor do we get to pick and choose in a discretionary fashion how sentencing is doled out. We as a public don't always have that discretion, and neither did Judge Persky.

State voters and certainly those in Santa Clara County and Palo Alto voted overwhelmingly in favor of these pieces of softer legislation. Now we have to live with it.

Posted by Far Far Away
a resident of another community
on Jul 2, 2017 at 5:23 pm

Thank you Marrol. You saved me the trouble. And said it better than I ever could have.

Posted by really
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 3, 2017 at 6:34 am

The woman from Stanford pushing this recall also was very vocal in getting her husband elected to school board in Palo Alto with some would say real controversial opinions, issues on this board etc....seems she loves controversy and looks for it.

This woman has way to much time on her hands or just loves to GRANDSTAND!

Posted by Athletes
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 3, 2017 at 10:14 am

Judge Turner does have discretion. This is why he is a judge. The Turner case is one among others where he let a college athlete off with a ridiculous sentence. There are more details on the recall site. Please read more about his history of sentencing before deciding that he is a sound decision maker.

Personally, I think that domestic violence and sexual assault need to be taken very seriously.

Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jul 3, 2017 at 10:37 am

Judge Persky is singularly unqualified to adjudicate cases of sexual assault and domestic violence. He seems to have pre disposed sympathy and leniency for the attackers, and shocking lack of regard for the victims. I actually find it shocking that the state hasn't removed him yet. He absolutely must be recalled.

Posted by How SV Treats Women
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 3, 2017 at 10:49 am

Just a few VERY recent articles on how SV treats women. Search for yourselves. When was Elaine Pao's lawsuit again? Things have gotten worse and we need to fix it.

Women in Tech Speak Frankly on Cultural Harassment
Web Link

Silicon Valley Taking Heat Over Sexual Harassment
Web Link

Venture Firm Co-Founder Demoted Over "Unacceptable" Behavior With Women
Web Link

Posted by Another Dean
a resident of another community
on Jul 3, 2017 at 11:19 am

All elected officials should have an insecure feeling about the job they have been elected to serve in. There should be term limits, to prevent them having a job for life.

It seems that once they feel secure in their position, their true character begins to show, and instead of serving the people, they begin to serve themselves. They feel that they can do almost anything they want to without repercussions.

Almost all politicians regardless of their political pursuasion seem to take this route. Unfortunately to prevent a bad politician from having a job for life, there will be some who really don't subscribe to this tendency, and have to go away.


Posted by Midtown Lawyer
a resident of El Carmelo School
on Jul 3, 2017 at 12:17 pm

To Another Dean: Term limits are a knee-jerk reaction to voter dissatisfaction that would be unnecessary if only voters would take personal responsibility for their votes. If the electorate is happy with a politician, they are benefited with his or her experience and seniority; if they are unhappy, they should not only vote against them, but advocate others to do the same. Term limits are the lazy voter's solution to a problem that shouldn't exist.

Applying term limits to judges is even worse. Judge Cordell is correct: judges need to be free from political influence in order to make sound judgments based on the law and the facts, not from the whims and emotions of the people. In 1954, most Americans either supported segregation or at least didn't consider it enough of a problem to warrant Federal involvement. But the 9 members of the US Supreme Court (including at least one former member of the KKK) agreed that legal segregation was an important enough issue to buck public opinion; the result was the most important decision of the 20th century and began the process of making the 14th and 15th Amendments real, 90 years after they were made law. Recalling judges is a bad response to a bad decision.

Posted by Another PA Grandma
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 3, 2017 at 12:28 pm

Look . . . sexual assault is an aggressive, violent, incredibly damaging, both physically and emotionally, attack against another person, no matter who commits it. When are we going to realize this and stand up and say that those attacks are NOT ACCEPTABLE at any time and that there are severe consequences when those attacks are committed? Stanford University has been reluctant/slow to step up and say that this behavior is not allowed on campus and someone who is commits an assault is immediately suspended and barred from campus.

And the same for the PA school district as recent reporting on repeated assaults by a student indicates. This behavior will not stop until everyone says "Enough!" Persky's sentence was barely more than a slap on the hand. If people who commit assaults think they will escape with little more than a warning, then nothing will change. I will vote to repeal Persky. Even if he was following the letter of the law, he had the discretion to make a stand on this epidemic of sexual assault.

Posted by Rose
a resident of Mayfield
on Jul 3, 2017 at 12:44 pm

Does anyone imagine that the young Brock Turner doesn't continue to suffer from his mistake? No doubt he will feel humiliation and remorse for the rest of his life. Two young people BOTH made terrible errors of judgement and action. Thank you to Marrol and LaDoris Cordell for helping the public better understand the law in such a situation. Let's all learn from this and move on. Compassion for everyone involved is in order.

Posted by Carole
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 3, 2017 at 12:54 pm

Judge Persky is a Santa Clara Co. Superior Court Judge. He was just re-elected, unopposed (not unusual) last year. The only way a sitting judge may be removed from office is by Recall if a majority of voters in the County agree to remove him.

A careful reading of the financial reports showing who is donating to date to support the Judge's recall or to oppose his recall, and where each donor lives, reveals a lot about this misguided campaign.

More than a whopping 2/3 of donors supporting the recall of Santa Clara Co. Judge Persky don't live in the County. They can't vote here and don't go to court here. Some live in the Bay Area, many in southern California. Furthermore, 88 of them don't even live in California.

On the other hand, the majority of donors opposed to the recall of Judge Persky, opposed to removing him from office, do live in Santa Clara County, where voters will vote, and where the Judge works. Also interesting, is that only 3 of his donors live out of state.

Ms. Dauber's effort to sack this Judge is financed mainly by people who don't live here, don't know our County, and many of whom still think the Brock Turner case was about rape (it never was). The low-information hysteria that swept this into the national news was sickening. Very few of these people know about the system in place that our county uses (as do many other counties) that all our judges rely on - criminal, and family court judges and more, taking the recommendations for sentencing. Many think this judge was a cowboy acting uniquely alone, but only cite a couple of his hundreds of decisions over the years. This is just wrong. The Panel on Judicial Ethics cleared him of all wrongdoing. Should we recall them too? If we don't like the system change it, but don't scapegoat one person.

Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jul 3, 2017 at 1:02 pm

@Rose, did you read the headlines above? Did you do your own search on the subject? Acceptance and even support for sexual harassment, domestic violence, discrimination, stalking and online threats etc. etc. are ALL on the rise here, nationally, in the media (how many women at Fox?) and of course in DC.

The Stanford rape counselor/official recently quit to protest that Stanford's complaint review board is one of like 3 tschools nationally to require unanimous votes on the validity of the complaints so many complaints aren't taken seriously. Elite prep schools have sex/rape contests. Female gamers are stalked and threatened

@really, "the woman from Stanford" is also a law professor. How many times do you need to repeat the word "woman" in a single postto have a clue about your own bias?

Posted by R. Winslow
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 3, 2017 at 1:08 pm

A poor legal decision on his part. It gave leniency and permissiveness a bad name in addition to offending countless women.

As a result, he will probably never rise higher than a Superior Court judge.

Posted by Midtown Lawyer
a resident of El Carmelo School
on Jul 3, 2017 at 1:22 pm

To Marrol: I disagree that a reduction in sentencing guidelines necessarily leads to bad decisions like this. Sentencing needs to be handled on a case by case basis, taking into consideration all the factors involved in the specific case under consideration. Sentencing guidelines lead us away from "justice" in our legal system; one size does not fit all when it comes to crime. It works both ways: if a judge is bounded by sentence guidelines, they can neither make a more lenient nor a more severe sentence, even if the particular case warrants one way or the other.

Persky does not seem to have been limited by sentencing guidelines or influenced by the probation report in this case. He appears to have simply made the judgment that this young, upper-middle class, white kid's future was more important than what what he did to a young woman. That is bad judgment, not a judge being constrained by liberal politics.

Posted by Outraged at this Kangaroo court
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Jul 3, 2017 at 1:33 pm

Thank you Carole - excellent response.
Rape is a serious violation.
poking an unconscious drunk person, even while drunk, is not acceptable. Brock Turner made a mistake and has been more than punished.
[Portion removed.]

Posted by Marrol
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jul 3, 2017 at 1:40 pm

The critics of the outcome in this case should not be focusing on the sentence rendered by Judge Persky, but rather the lenient sentencing laws that California voters have enacted in recent years. Judge Persky followed the "rule of law" within the sentencing formula prescribed by law. That's the reality of it and to blame the judge in this case is entirely misguided in my opinion. He has to follow these judicial guidelines. There is not as much if any personal discretion as one would think.

The root cause of this controversy is the soft on crime sentencing laws and incarceration limits that California voters have overwhelmingly approved, especially in Santa Clara County and Palo Alto. To blame Judge Persky for simply following the legislative and judicial requirements is totally unfair. I happen to believe that the man convicted of this crime should have served a lengthier sentence. No question. The critics and recall supporters should think about that the next time they vote on these soft on crime propositions. You voted for it, ad this is what it looks like.

Posted by Trend of lenient sentencing
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jul 3, 2017 at 1:53 pm

The thinking aming some in power in CA - Democrats, incl. Gov. Brown, was that a certain minority was serving too much prison time, so one way to "help" this imagined discrimination was to lessen prison sentences. And then it happened this white guy got a benedit out if it, so they are torn.
Decide what you want - and then sentencing guidelines apply to whoever is convicted - that's just the way it is, folks.
Overall, with citations for theft up to a certain amiunt, etc. we see a rise in that area of crime.
But Gov. Brown has fewer head count in prison.
I am fine with a high prison count if they deserve to be there. Protecting society shoukd be the concern, not what the head count is and how this is soun as an "injustuce" by Brown.
It "looked bad" owing to a hugh number of illegal aliens and others.

Posted by Joe
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 3, 2017 at 2:07 pm

> Term limits are a knee-jerk reaction to voter dissatisfaction that
> would be unnecessary if only voters would take personal responsibility
> for their votes

What does this even mean? If anyone looks at the campaign materials available for Judges (for instance), can one see anything meaningful about his/her performance on the Bench in order to make any sense of what this Judge’s qualifications, and work product, might be so that a voter can take “personal responsibility for his/her vote”? The simple answer is NO! Can we easily find out how many cases Judge handled during the previous four years? Can we easily see how many cases the judge recused himself/herself during this timeframe and why he recused himself/herself? Can we get any sense of how many of his cases were appealed, and how many of these appeals overturned his/her rulings? Can we get any sense of how “fair” a judge is? How many people he held in contempt of court? How many of the lawyers who argued before him hold him up as a role model?

It would not be hard to add several more paragraphs to this list of things that voters are not able to know about Judges before they go to the polls.

Posted by Shameful
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jul 3, 2017 at 2:59 pm

If the "rule of law" permits a 3 month sentence for rape of an unconscious women, then the rule of law needs to change NOW. Rape is a violent crime, unlike small time drug offenses that generally hurt no one.

And if the judge had discretion, he chose to give the leniency to the man that raped the unconscious woman. He could have chosen a sentence more appropriate to the crime, first offense or not.


Posted by J.J.
a resident of Addison School
on Jul 3, 2017 at 4:18 pm

It wasn't rape. He didn't commit, wasn't charged with, wasn't tried for and wasn't sentenced for rape.
Like a whole lot people wanting to get Persky, you don't know what you are talking about.
And wanting to just lock up lots more people and (mostly of color) for longer and longer indiscriminately if horrific.

Posted by Unfortunate
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Jul 3, 2017 at 5:16 pm

The LAW has changed, as a result of Persky's lenient sentencing of Brock Turner. It changed as if of January 2017.

Attempted rape, sexual assault of ANY kind on an unconscious victim now lead to much longer, harsher sentence in a real prison-- NOT county jail.

Unfortunately, a little too late for Brock Turner and his victim.

However, it had been titled, The Brock Turner Law... a name which will live in infamy.

Posted by Michelle
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 3, 2017 at 6:54 pm

I am really surprised by this discussion. I know that not everyone will support Judge Persky's recall (I do) but there are people making light of what Brock Turner did and believe he was punished "enough." He was not "poking" his victim. He put his fingers inside of her with leaves and dirt. He had his pants unzipped and was ready to rape her when he was caught by two grad students. His acts were disgusting and violent.

Three months in County jail was a joke. Even before the new law, Persky could have sentenced him to more time. He chose not to.

Posted by Disappointed in LaDoris
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 3, 2017 at 6:59 pm

I have a lot of respect for LaDoris Cordell, but even good people get it wrong sometimes and she clearly has had trouble deciding what to do about Persky. Dauber is correct that she is contradicting herself. Her most serious contradiction is that she says that one should not recall Persky because he made one bad call. But LaDoris herself publicly criticized Persky for two different cases: Brock Turner and Gunderson. Here are her public statements:

--Cordell went on television and described Judge Persky as biased when she called the Brock Turner sentence of only six months in county jail for a sexual assault by a college athlete, a case of "white privilege."
See: Web Link

--Cordell stated to a reporter for Buzzfeed News that the Gunderson case was so badly mishandled that she was "not even sure where to start." In that case, Persky allowed Gunderson, who was convicted of felony domestic violence, to go to Hawaii to play football unsupervised despite a felony conviction. Cordell stated that she was troubled that Persky did not ensure that Gunderson was properly supervised and that Hawaii authorities were not even notified that Persky allowed him to move there.
See: Web Link

Cordell is clearly conflicted. On the one hand, she told the truth about Persky's bias to reporters. On the other hand, she values being part of the club of retired Judges and they have circled the wagons around Persky despite his biases and manifest incompetence.

It's sad to see her going along with that. But don't forget she was Stanford President Hennessy's special Associate Provost and she never spoke up about sexual assault once while working at Stanford. She was silent the entire time even though girls were getting raped right and left. Maybe this is not an issue she cares about. There's certainly no sign of it during her time at Stanford.

Posted by Jeff
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jul 3, 2017 at 8:44 pm

I am shocked that so many readers (including a Stanford law school professor) are leading the charge to recall a local judge. Our independent judiciary is essential to our democracy. Pause for a moment to think about every single right you hold near and dear: immigration, reproductive rights, gun control, freedom of speech or press. Now, imagine that every time a judge rules to your liking, they are suddenly assailed by a recall movement. How do you feel now? You don't get to have everything only your way.

The fault here lies squarely with (1) colleges (here, Stanford) historically turning a blind eye to binge drinking on campus and at fraternity parties, athletes' entitlement, and keeping their public reputation untarnished, and (2) our societal guidelines for punishment, which are enacted by our legislatures to reflect the will of the people.

For the millionth time: this was not a rape case. Judge Percy heard everything presented in this sexual assault (not rape!) case and did what judges are appointed to do: adjudicated the case. Judge Percy was "judged" by a judicial panel and was found to have not commited any misconduct.

For some local law school professor to show up at the final hearing (expecting to do a victory lap with the victim's family, only to be stunned by the lenient verdict) and to think that the judge should be recalled is the real judicial travesty here.

Posted by Another Dean
a resident of another community
on Jul 3, 2017 at 10:17 pm

To Midtown Lawyer. The problem is that the majority of voters that I know are party bound, or see a name they recognize and cast their vote. They certainly are entitled to vote in any manner they so choose, far be it for me to tell them who to vote for.

Anyone who asks me who they should vote for gets this reply: You should have your own reasons for casting your vote, never vote for any candidate you don't feel is going to do a job you are mostly in agreement with. Never vote for someone you were told to vote for. My spouse asks me, and she always gets my standard response, and sometimes I cringe.

Since people tend to vote for a familiar name, we get politicians who are too comfortable in their elected position, and begin to fail in the performance of their jobs. It doesn't matter party or not. It is difficult to evaluate their performance and most voters simply do not have the time (not to mention having access to measurable data) to go into any depth in the attempt to evaluate them. I know, I know, DON'T VOTE THEN!!! Then, we absolutely need term limits!


Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 3, 2017 at 10:56 pm

I don't recall anyone in any of the threads about Brock Turner minimizing what he did or suggesting that any sort of sexual assault is acceptable. But the punishment Turner received is hardly a slap on the wrist. Only part of his punishment has ended. He must register as a sexual offender for the rest of his life. That's a very, very long sentence considering that he was just 19 on the fateful night. Sure, he's not living behind prison bars but he is essentially imprisoned by his pariah status. And he must live with the burden of all that changed for himself, his family, and the young woman as a result of what happened. I am not minimizing what happened to the young woman, but she at least has a wide support network and the promise of a future of her own making. Brock Turner does not even have hope. Rather, he has scorn and hate and guilt. As unsatisfactory as many find Judge Persky's decision to be, there's no question about whether Brock Turner has been punished.

It's also important, I think, to remember that Judge Persky removed himself from hearing criminal cases. And the law for sentencing in sexual assault cases was changed. Those are two very important developments that resulted from this case. Is a recall really necessary? I think that having an independent judiciary is more important than recalling a judge who has already taken himself out anyway.

Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jul 4, 2017 at 6:41 am

How does one conflate Judge Persky with an independent judiciary? He has proved that the future of white, upper middle class sexual offenders, especially when they are college athletes is much more important to him than the plight of sexual assault and domestic violence victims. How does that make him an independent judge?

Posted by PA Resident
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 4, 2017 at 11:30 am

To Annette - You are minimizing the effect on the victim in your less than one sentence dismissal. I don't see that people have, as yet, got the message. The effect on the victim, although Turner was stopped before he actually raped her, is permanent. Not something she will ever be able to forget. That is a sentence in and of itself.

Sexual assault is not about sex, it is about violence and dominance. That is coming across clearly in the recent revelations at Fox and in the Tech world. As far as I can see, the Fox perps managed to escape relatively unscathed - O'Reilly has another show now - and the Tech perps are falling all over themselves to apologize. It's not apologies that are needed, it is the clear realization by everyone that sexual assault, no matter how trivial, is NOT ACCEPTABLE IN ANY FORM.

Posted by R. Winslow
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 4, 2017 at 11:42 am

In Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky's own words, "the court of law should be separated from the court of public opinion."

Depending on where one resides, he might have a point. On the other hand, justice often reflects a sign of the times and/or the regional thought process and we don't need to get into a discussion of the Deep South to verify this premise. As a result, many court decisions are not fair or just.

Was Judge Persky's decision reflective of predominant SF mid-peninsula values and principles? Probably not. It's time for him to step down and turn his legal career to writing wills and living trusts.

Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jul 4, 2017 at 11:51 am

To Annette, unfortunately I agree with "PA Resident" about minimizing the effect on the victim. I remember Turner's parents defending their son and blaming the victim. They showed no compassion for her, took no responsibility for their sons actions and blamed it all on underage drinking. Remember her letter to the judge where she complained her poor boy no longer liked his favorite steak dinner? Remember her shielding him from photographers with a sheet?

Re the fact the non-local residents support the recall, some of them might be former Stanford students and former residents here. But as more ridiculously lenient sentences for sex crimes make national news, expect more of a national response protesting those sentences. Remember the Sandusky case where the 4 student athletes rapists got much shorter sentences than the hero who filmed and reported the rapes?

Posted by George
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 4, 2017 at 2:06 pm

Our judiciary cannot be subject to mob rule. Persky made a ruling some will see reasonable considering the full scope of Turner's penalties and others want much more. We have judges and elect them to make decisions - he looked at everything and made a descision. Tar and feathers by a mob is never good.

Posted by Had Enough of This
a resident of another community
on Jul 4, 2017 at 3:09 pm

I was present at the sentencing hearing, and Judge Persky carefully outlined the many factors that went into his decision, and paralleled each as it pertained to the law. He did the job he was assigned to do on both his assessment and the advice of the probation department. It was by no means a knee jerk decision and did not at all appear biased. As a friend of an incarcerated young man who fell victim to an out of state justice system following another college fraternity party involving two drunk students, who was forced into a mandatory minimum prison sentence of over 8 years, you’d think I would object to the lenient sentence. Laws are different in different states. Judge Persky did no wrong, as his hands were not tied by the lack of a mandatory minimum sentence law which now exists in California.

[Portion removed.]

Posted by Trend of lenient sentencing
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jul 4, 2017 at 3:12 pm

@ PA Resident makes a worthwhile mention of the Tech world and recent "apologies" of some tech bros who felt they were stuck and for PR purposes, the best course was to offer up false apologies to the women they had somehow "affected" or whatnot. Usually, the facts are worse.
Sure didn't look gemuine to me. If you have ANY class, you DON'T behave in such ways - anytime - during business such as propositioning and hassling/harrassing female tech entrepreneurs during their business presentations for funding; nor do you grope or pressurize young women to "date" you. Sleazy is what I call it. Try being businesslike, dudes. The power imbalance in "new Tech" remains a problem whereby misogynist bullies still feel verrrry powerful. Don't stand for it.

Posted by Abitarian
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 4, 2017 at 5:56 pm

Mr. Persky's judgeship is an elected office; indeed, he is subject to the will of the people.

Posted by Resident
a resident of Community Center
on Jul 4, 2017 at 6:04 pm

@george,a recall isn't a mob, it's a part of the system. It was too late to run an opponent against him in November, so this is the next option. If you like him, vote for him; I don't do I won't. But it's an elected position, so that mob you are complaining about are the voters looking to make a change at the polls.

Posted by Jeff
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jul 4, 2017 at 11:00 pm

@Resident: a recall is a mob when its action is predicated on blatant misstatements, ignorance, and hysteria. Let me explain. The headline "Persky Slaps Brock on Wrist for Rape" is FAKE NEWS. The headline "Persky Hands Brock Lenient Sentence (Within Guidelines) for Sexual Assault" is TRUE. See the difference?

Did anybody here attend every day of the trial? Did everybody read the press coverage of the case as it was ongoing? Did anybody read the trial transcript? Did anybody read the full statement of the probation officer (who interviewed both defendant and victim)? Did many of you read much beyond the victim's letter (breathlessly read by journalists and politicians)? I suspect not. However, one of the very few people that was privy to absolutely every shred of evidence in this case was Judge Persky.

[Portion removed.]

Once you objectively examine BOTH the prosecution and the defense, as Judge Persky did, rather than just relying on what global social media hysterically reported, it becomes far more probable that Judge Persky's decision was correctly decided, BASED ON THE TRIAL. This is exactly what we expect judges to do. When judges base their decision on what they think the community wants, we lose our independent judiciary.

Judge Persky should not be recalled, and any law professor calling for his recall should perhaps have their faculty position reevaluated.

Posted by Telemarkskier
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 5, 2017 at 12:11 pm

Rose says:
"Two young people BOTH made terrible errors of judgement and action"

No. The woman was raped. There is no error of judgement here. She was the victim.
A calculated act by a rapist is not an error of judgement.

Posted by Resident
a resident of Community Center
on Jul 5, 2017 at 12:31 pm

@Jeff, no, a recall isn't a mob, any more than any other election. You may think the question does not have merit, but if enough petition signers do, Persky will be judged by voters, which is how it works in California. You sound like you don't trust the voters - that's your prerogative, I guess, but in this case, you're out of luck.

I doubt hardly any of the voters will do done the things you ask (attend the trial, read the transcript, etc.) - that's not how elections work, and if Persky's defense requires that, he's in bad shape. Hopefully he will run on his record, and the opposition will present their view of the same.

Posted by Vote YES on the RECALL
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 5, 2017 at 12:44 pm


I think it's interesting that you think Professor Dauber, who is a tenured full professor with an endowed chair, and an established scholar and an award winning teacher, should somehow be fired by Stanford for advocating her own personal political views. Do you understand how free speech and academic freedom work?

Professor Dauber isn't an elected official and she isn't accountable to you or to the voters -- Aaron Persky is. He is elected, he is accountable and he is subject to voter recall. It's not surprising that a constitutional scholar knows that and you don't but maybe you can learn anyway.

As for all these victim blamers on Town Square -- it's no wonder PALY is so full of sexual harassment and SV VCs and companies are literally having scandals so fast the press can't cover them all. The parents and execs in this community clearly don't get it.

If you are sick of the rape culture that dominates Palo Alto and SV, vote YES to recall Aaron Persky and vote against rape culture.

Posted by Jeff
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jul 5, 2017 at 1:27 pm

@ Resident,

If you re-read my comment, I am only saying a recall effort is a mob when it is based largely on falsehoods and reeks of a torches and pitchforks procession. What punishment would Brock have had to receive before you are satisfied? Years of sodomy in a prison? Castration?

Again, this was NOT A RAPE case. Everybody keeps using that word, but it has a specific legal meaning that was not applicable in the Brock Turner trial. No formal legal education is required to understand that.

As has been postulated before, this case is the fault of (1) colleges that turn a blind eye to under-age and binge drinking, (2) a legislature that previously regarded sexual assault (digital penetration) as less of a crime (before District Attorney Rosen instigated Brock's Law), (3) a probation officer that interviewed the victim and defendant and made a lenient recommendation, and (4) two adults (one under the legal drinking age) who made a series of stupid choices.

As a side note, I find it curious that Brock Turner incites more anger than the case of Abhiskek Gattani (both litigated by the Santa Clara County District Attorney, and both ending in sentences that are widely regarded as slaps on the wrist.

Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jul 5, 2017 at 2:24 pm

It's no wonder that the rape culture and sexual harassment are alive and well in Paly, Stanford and SV when you read the postings by "Jeff". It's true that Turner's offense wasn't convicted for rape on a technicality then, although he would have been had he committed this assault now. The only difference is that he had time to insert "only" his fingers into his unconscious victim's vagina and not his penis because he was stopped in the nick of time by those two graduate students.

Judges like Persky convey a subliminal, if not more overt message to jocks in particular and sexual offenders in general that sexual assault is not a big deal and if caught they will not pay a serious price. That's why a failure to recall himchch is a betrayal of women and a green light to would be sexual offenders.

Posted by Jeff
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jul 5, 2017 at 4:26 pm

@ Mauricio

My defending a local judge from a misinformed, misguided, "alt-fact" driven recall campaign is not contributing to any rape culture. -"Jeff"

Posted by Resident
a resident of Community Center
on Jul 5, 2017 at 4:53 pm

@Jeff, penetration with a foreign object (in this case, a finger) was not defined as rape in California, but it is by, for instance, the Federal Dept of Justice (Web Link So saying "this was not a RAPE CASE" seems misleading - the California definition is out of date. To be vivid, if someone forcibly stuffed a length of pipe up your butt (ouch), would you not call that "anal rape"? I, and I think most people, would.

In terms of punishment, I think most people, including the DA, thought time in state prison was appropriate, and, as you probably know, California changed its laws a few months later in response to this verdict to make it so state prison would be mandated (AB 2888, Web Link The judge thought otherwise, on this and other cases, but hopefully the voters will get their say on whether they support that way of thinking.

A recall effort is never a mob, any more than a regularly scheduled election campaign. They are both democratic processes, "within the lines," as it were. I think you, not the recall supporters, are being anti-democratic here.

Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jul 5, 2017 at 6:34 pm

@Jeff, let me asked you a question. if someone stuffed a foreign object up your anus without your consent, would you consider it an offense that deserves only 3 months in a county jail? We know the answer, so yes, defending a local judge who considers what would now be prosecuted as rape, and should have been when Turner assaulted the victim, to be so insignificant as to be punished by 6 months, actually 3, in a county jail, not even state prison, as contributing to the rape culture that you so dismissively put in parentheses. Additionally, note calling this misguided judge would be very much contributing to the Valley rape culture.

Posted by voter info, please
a resident of Stanford
on Jul 5, 2017 at 6:52 pm

Has anyone noticed how impossible it is to find information on any judge up for election? Over the years I have tried to locate information about judges on various ballots and their sentencing history so I can make an informed decision, but to no avail. Often I end up leaving the judge options blank, because the dearth of information makes impossible for me to make an informed choice.

For example, I think it should be easy to find out of a judge treats all drug offenders (or buglers, etc) equally, or if they are biased by race or gender or wealth. Also, it should be easy to find out of a judge is constantly harsh toward certain types of offenses and not others. I think as a voter I have the right to know what sort of judge I'm voting for.

Perhaps there is a resource and I am unaware, in which case, could someone please point it out to me?

thank you.

Posted by George
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 5, 2017 at 6:56 pm

The recall is based on this single case not general misconduct - it's revenge of a mob trying this case on the street and waging a larger campaign against a perceived tolerance for a 'culture of rape'. The totality of this case, including all of the testimony and inputs by other professionals contributed to persky's ruling - how many people responding to this issue have really witnessed or read all of that?

The comment with the pipe reference is a good example of the problem- it's not about what people might want to call it, it's about a very particular event and a very particular set of circumstances and a decision.

Hopefully this recall will fail.

Posted by Vote YES on the RECALL
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 5, 2017 at 8:58 pm

The recall is going to succeed. According to independent polling 67% of Santa Clara County voters, including over 75% of women and 80% of young women support the recall.

The distinction Jeff is making about this not being "rape" is a distinction without a difference. Turner was convicted of three serious felony sex crimes. One of them had a presumptive penalty of 2 years in prison. Professor Dauber and nearly 300 Stanford students signed letters asking for the minimum sentence of 2 years. The prosecution asked for 6 years -- because Turner lied in court and never expressed remorse.

Persky had to make an exception for Turner in order to give him the 3 months in county plus probation. Persky personally and of his own volition MADE AN EXCEPTION for BROCK TURNER by concluding that what he did wasn't all that serious and justified lenient treatment. That is what happened. Those are the facts.

That use of his discretion (i.e., judgment) is the basis for the recall. He has terrible judgment where sexual assault and gender based violence are concerned. He has shown in a raft of cases -- the De Anza Gang Rape, several other domestic abuse cases, and kiddie porn cases that he has terrible judgment.

What is the most important criteria for a judge? GOOD JUDGMENT. That's what he doesn't have.

A recall election is a peaceful democratic process. It is literally voting. It is the furthest thing from a mob there is. It is the literal opposite of a mob which is lawless. This is all about the law.

Jeff doesn't want empowered women fighting back through the democratic process to get our rights. Too bad Jeff.

Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Palo Alto Hills

on Jul 6, 2017 at 4:42 am

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?

Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jul 6, 2017 at 6:00 am

The Turner case was only the straw the broke the camel's back. The recall is not based on a single case. Persky has shown in several domestic abuse cases in which men have been violent against women, shocking leniency toward the perpetrator, and even more shocking indifference toward the victims. He has bent over backward to go easy on the offenders. He always seemed much more concerned about the offenders' welfare, not the victims.

to me, those who call the recall supporters "mob", are a mob, a mob which is alarmed by empowered women.

Posted by Oldster
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 6, 2017 at 1:08 pm

Good arguments, Mauricio!

For me, this is all about deterence. Do we in Santa Clara County want to send a message to sexual criminals, especially young male sport stars, that our County has a judge who showed bias favoring a defendant over a crime victim in his open court statements at sentencing and gave the most lenient sentences possible or instead, do we want unbiased judges to make our County a safer - and fairer - place for all our residents?

I'm old enough to remember when DUIs were common and driving after dark when the bars closed and businessmen came home for dinner after self-medicating after a "hard day" of work meant the "Bloody Bayshore" was no joke. It took a culture change and heavier drunk driving penalties to make DUIs rare. Being a "designated driver" is not uncool today especially for our youth. It was lenient judges who enabled that DUI culture for so long, likely since even today, the Califonia Bar says almost half of is members have substance abuse problems! It's no wonder the Bar requires its members to take continuing educaion in substance abuse.

The Bar also requires "Elimination of Bias in the Profession and Society." To reduce the rape culture we can't afford judges biased in favor of sexual criminals.

Posted by independent judiciary
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 6, 2017 at 6:20 pm

The Bar also requires "Elimination of Bias in the Profession and Society."

And the California Bar investigated and found no bias.

Posted by Resident
a resident of Community Center
on Jul 6, 2017 at 6:27 pm

@independent,I guess we'll see if the voters agree with them. Based on what I have read about this, I do not.

Posted by Vote YES on the RECALL
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 6, 2017 at 9:26 pm

Cal Bar did not "investigate and find no bias." That never happened. Why can't Judge Persky's allies just stick to the facts? LaDoris Cordell and her selective recollections of how many cases she has criticized of Persky's? Now this fabricated investigation. Perhaps the facts do not favor your candidate, eh?

Posted by independent judiciary
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 6, 2017 at 9:41 pm

"And the California Commission on Judicial Performance, 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."

It really is unfortunate for the recall campaign.

Posted by Resident
a resident of Community Center
on Jul 6, 2017 at 10:39 pm

@independent - yup, we'll see if the voters agree or not. My sense is that they will not feel comfortable with relying on the judges to judge one of their own. I don't.

Posted by Jane
a resident of Esther Clark Park
on Jul 6, 2017 at 11:01 pm

I have thought so much about this case from DAY ONE. I have read every article, and still ponder what is right. This is where my thought process has lead me.

For the victim:
She will have a chance to move on in her life with an excellent professional therapist. Someday she will marry a loving, caring and supportive husband. They will have a family and together they will find happiness in another part of the state or country. She will have fewer nightmares.

For the perpetrator:
He will likely change his name, live out of the country and forever be labeled and published as a sex offender. He will continue to need professional counseling. It is very doubtful any young woman would be able to find happiness with him as a husband. As a partner, it might work, but I don't envy him and his partner to live the happy kind of life I expect the victim will be able to do some day. HIs family is totally devastated.

For the judge:
He's suffering, too, I'll vote not to appeal.

Posted by Vote YES on the RECALL
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 6, 2017 at 11:37 pm

The Commission on Judicial Performance is NOT the Cal Bar. It is a very troubled agency -- under State audit at the order of the legislature, and its Director was just forced out, due to the fact that it only imposes discipline in less than 3% of cases, and acts in secret. The Persky investigation was a one-sided, closed door report that was full of mistakes. No one trusts that agency and no one expected them to do anything other than protect the judge. That's what it does.

Just one notable error in the report on Judge Persky is that the CJP report stated that he just followed the probation report in all cases, when there were no probation reports in several of those cases. The CJP couldn't be bothered with the facts in its rush to defend Persky.

The recall responded fully here: Web Link

Sign the petition and vote YES to recall Judge Persky.

Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jul 7, 2017 at 6:38 am

mauricio is a registered user.

Why is sexual violence against women is so common in college football? Because college administrations have been shockingly lenient on the college athletes involved, often covering up for them. This would be a perfect analogy to Persky's inexcusable leniency toward sexual offenders. Judges who bend over backward to go easy on sexual offenders encourage sexual crimes, even if they don't intend to. They shouldn't be allowed to be judges, it's that simple.

Posted by independent judiciary
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 7, 2017 at 7:17 am

And the Santa Clara Bar Association:

"Judges have a duty to apply the law to the facts and evidence before them, regardless of public opinion or political pressure. In that role, judges provide an important check against other political forces. If judges had to fear direct, personal repercussions as a result of their decisions in individual cases, the rule of law would suffer. These principles date back to the founding of our nation and are a bedrock of the United States and California Constitutions."

It just keeps getting worse and worse for the recall effort.

Posted by R. Winslow
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 7, 2017 at 12:30 pm

> Persky has shown in several domestic abuse cases in which men have been violent against women, shocking leniency toward the perpetrator, and even more shocking indifference toward the victims. He has bent over backward to go easy on the offenders. He always seemed much more concerned about the offenders' welfare, not the victims.

Maybe the judge has 'issues' of his own?

>"And the California Commission on Judicial Performance, 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."

It really is unfortunate for the recall campaign.

Not necessarily. You have to keep in mind that some commissions and associations will go out of their way to protect their own. It's up to the individual to vote his/her conscience on the matter regardless of exit polls and biased findings.

Posted by independent judiciary
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 7, 2017 at 6:35 pm

And the Superior Court of California, County of Santa Clara, Retired Judicial Officers:

"Judges cannot and should not be immune from criticism. To the contrary, robust public debate about cases that raise important issues is a good thing. Removal of a judge for illegal or unethical conduct may be appropriate. However, calls to remove a judge because of a decision, even a very unpopular one, when that judge exercised discretion permitted under the law, is an entirely different matter. The essence of judicial independence is that judges must be able to make decisions without fear of political repercussions."
"We firmly believe that removing Judge Persky from office under these circumstances would set a dangerous precedent and be a serious threat to judicial independence."

Can't really make it much clearer than that.

"biased findings."

Not sure which "biased findings" you mean. You're not seriously suggesting all the principal law organizations and committees are now biased? Hopefully, you're referring to the recall campaign's publications, which are definitely biased.

Posted by Zoya
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 7, 2017 at 7:31 pm

I guess I'm not tech savvy -- where are these petitions to sign to get rid of this Dude who thinks a slap on a rist is enough punishment for raping an unconscious female. Please give me the link and I will gladly add my name to the roster. He wanted to save a Stanford rapist rather than consider victim's violation. Despicable. Persky should to be gone and fast.

Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jul 7, 2017 at 8:04 pm

mauricio is a registered user.

Huge surprise. A club closing ranks and circling the wagon around a discredited member, and a highly discredited club to begin with. The Commission on Judicial Performance is even more discredited and irrelevant than ABAG, quite an achievement.

Persky will be recalled, there's zero doubt about it. The challenge is to recall any other judge who bends over backward to protect and excuse sexual predators.

Posted by Reader
a resident of another community
on Jul 7, 2017 at 8:28 pm

Well, one of Judge Persky's legacies will probably be the fact that his denial of fault will permanent ruin Brock Turner's opportunities by staying in the headlines.

Every few months, Persky's name will creep back into the headlines and Brock Turner's name will be dug up again to explain to the readership what happened.

Sure, Brock Turner was guilty, but he should have served out a quiet normal jail term and walked away with little fanfare.

Because of Persky's actions, this kid's name will be dragged through the mud for years and years, just as attention to his victim will be repeatedly brought up. Both assailant and victim should be allowed the opportunity to put this tragic episode behind them, but Persky is too selfish to think about anyone but himself today.

For no other reason, Persky must be removed.

Posted by George
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 12, 2017 at 4:01 pm

[Post removed.]

Posted by A Noun Ea Mus
a resident of Professorville
on Aug 22, 2017 at 3:55 am

Time to dust off the book, The Secret Sharer (earlier titled The Naked Swimmer) by Joseph Conrad. Yes when the judge "considers" all the angles, one of them being that the RAPIST was white, male and had a bright white future ahead of him. Perhaps not "fair" that Persky being blamed for what is routine justice in the Nation as opposed to the Colony, but someone has to be the first to have their heads on the razor.

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