At least 10 prospective jurors who were selected to serve on a case Stanford rape case Judge Aaron Persky is handling have refused to serve on the panel, citing their anger over his decision to give Brock Turner, 20, just six months in county prison as opposed to the six years that were originally recommended by prosecutors.
“I can’t be here, I’m so upset,” one prospective juror reportedly said, according to the San Jose Mercury News. “I can’t believe what you did,” another prospective juror reportedly said.
Although some of the complaints may have been genuine, the Mercury News notes that possibility that some of the jurors were using the Persky’s rape case ruling as an excuse to get out of jury duty. The Mercury News also noted that the more jurors ask to be excused, the longer the jury trial selection process will take, thus delaying any new cases.
Persky, 54, a former sex crimes prosecutor, cited Turner’s lack of criminal history as the grounds for his more lenient sentencing, and noted that a longer prison sentence would have a “severe impact” on the former Stanford student’s future and life.
Turner had been convicted on three felony counts, including intent to commit rape, sexual penetration with a foreign object of an intoxicated person, and sexually penetrating an unconscious person with a foreign object.
In addition, Turner will be required to register as a convicted sex offender for the rest of his life. On Friday, the U.S. governing body for the sport of swimming banned Turner from the sport indefinitely.
On Tuesday, Judge Persky — who is also a Stanford alumnis — entered another judicial term after his re-election race was canceled due to lack of challengers. Despite calls for his resignation, it is unlikely Persky will be removed from the bench.
On Friday at noon, activists will deliver Stanford University law professor Michele Landis Dauber’s Change.org petition calling for Judge Persky’s removal to the California Commission on Judicial Performance, located at 455 Golden Gate Avenue in San Francisco.
The petition has garnered over 1 million signatures so far. Activists from UltraViolet, a national women’s advocacy organization, will also present three bicycle billboards that read “Protect Survivors, Not Rapists. #PerskyMustGo.”
The billboards are a reference to the two Swedish PhD students who discovered the rape while riding on their bicycles. They were hailed as heroes by the unnamed female victim of the rape who had allegedly imbibed so much alcohol at a party that she became unconscious. She said she discovered what happened to her “sitting at my desk reading the news at work. I learned what happened to me the same time everyone else in the world learned.”
In her court statement, she explained that she now sleeps “with two bicycles that I drew taped above my bed to remind myself there are heroes in this story. That we are looking out for one another. To have known all of these people, to have felt their protection and love, is something I will never forget.”
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