Organizers have collected nearly 100,000 signatures to recall Judge Aaron Persky from his position in June over what critics say was a a lenient sentencing of Stanford University student Brock Turner, who sexually assaulted an intoxicated female student in 2015.
Turner was hit with a six-month county jail sentence, of which he served three months due to a state law aimed at reducing jail overcrowding.
“We’re in uncharted territory here, but the recall has two forces in its favor: the perception that the judge is soft on crime and the #MeToo movement and push by women for equality,” Garrick Percival, a political science professor at San Jose State, told the East Bay Times.
However, others suggested that the time and effort being spent to oust Persky would be better spent holding “police departments accountable for properly investigating rape.”
Petitioners reportedly gathered in San Jose this week, at the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters, where they turned in nearly a dozen boxes of signed petitions calling for Persky’s recall to be listed on the upcoming ballot.
Persky has reportedly asked a state appellate court to block the election.
While critical of Persky’s judgement, Santa Clara District Attorney Jeff Rosen has said he does not believe Persky should be removed from his position.
The East Bay Times notes: “If Persky, a Santa Clara County Superior Court judge, is recalled, it would be the first time a California judge has been ousted in a recall election in 85 years. In 1986, three state Supreme Court justices were removed from office by voters, but it was during a general election, not a recall.”
Stanford Law School Professor Michele Dauber is leading the recall campaign.
Stanford introduced a mandatory course for incoming freshmen to help students recognize and deal with sexual assault. The school’s Office of Alcohol Policy and Education also reportedly has a promotional video that informs students about alcohol consumption.