Stanford Rape Judge Persky Will No Longer Hear Criminal Cases

Judge Persky Protest (Eric Risberg / Associated Press)
Eric Risberg / Associated Press

Judge Aaron Persky, the Santa Clara justice who was criticized after handing down a short rape sentence for Stanford University swimmer Brock Turner, has voluntarily asked to be moved from hearing criminal cases in Palo Alto to civil cases.

Persky gave Turner a six-month sentence, far shorter than the six years recommended. Turner, who sexually assaulted an unconscious woman behind a garbage bin outside a party at Stanford, was convicted of assault with the intent to rape an unconscious person, sexual penetration of an unconscious person, and sexual penetration of an intoxicated person.

According to the East Bay Times, Judge Persky will return to hearing civil cases at the Old Courthouse near St. James Park in downtown San Jose on September 6.

Judge Rise Pichon, the presiding judge, reportedly did not have any plans to move Persky out of Palo Alto but honored his request. She reportedly issued a brief written statement in response to his upcoming transfer:

While I firmly believe in Judge Persky’s ability to serve in his current assignment, he has requested to be assigned to the civil division, in which he previously served. Judge Persky believes the change will aid the public and the court by reducing the distractions that threaten to interfere with his ability to effectively discharge the duties of his current criminal assignment.

However, Persky’s new assignment is reportedly temporary, and he could transfer back to his original post if he wishes to. As such, critics are not backing down.
Michelle Dauber, the Stanford law professor behind an effort to oust Persky altogether, told the Los Angeles Times that she will continue efforts to recall Persky partly because he “can still transfer back to hearing criminal cases any time he chooses.”
His supporters disagree. Deputy public defender Roderick O’Connor told the East Bay Times that the transfer is a “big loss,” saying “it’s a shame he’s moving … because I believe criminal defendants and prosecutors deserve a judge of Persky’s caliber.”

Follow Adelle Nazarian on Twitter @AdelleNaz


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