Santa Clara County Judge Aaron Persky became instantly notorious for giving Stanford University swimmer Brock Turner just six months in jail for sexually assaulting an intoxicated, unconscious woman. Now, at his own request, he's not going to have a chance to do anything like that again.
Amid intense criticism for his sentencing in the Turner case, the San Jose Mercury News reported Thursday that Persky has requested to be reassigned from hearing criminal cases. A court spokesman confirmed that beginning Sept. 6, he will return to hearing civil cases only.
Persky is currently facing a recall campaign organized by Stanford Law professor Michele Dauber. The campaign is focusing on his six month sentence for Turner (he'll likely be out in three months with good behavior) but that's not the only problem activists have with Persky.
They allege that he has a history of favoring privileged defendants with lenient sentences. In addition to the Turner trial, the campaign points to a 2011 civil trial where Persky allowed a jury to consider photographs of a sexual assault victim wearing revealing clothing a year after the assault took place. He also once sentenced a computer engineer to weekend jail time for felony aggravated battery against his fiancé, and gave a Latino defendant facing the same charges as Turner a three year sentence.
Dauber told the Mercury News the reassignment "doesn't change anything" about the efforts to recall Persky. The campaign plans to hold a rally opposing him next Friday.
Persky does have supporters, however, with deputy public defender Roderick O'Connor telling the Mercury News the transfer was a "big loss."
"It's a shame he's moving," he said, "because I believe criminal defendants and prosecutors deserve a judge of Persky's caliber."
That certainly seems true for white male athletes.