Assault survivors, activists submit 200k more signatures seeking removal of Stanford rape case judge

This June 27, 2011, photo shows Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky, who drew criticism for sentencing former Stanford University swimmer Brock Turner to only six months in jail for sexually assaulting an unconscious woman. The swimmer's father, Dan Turner, ignited more outrage by writing in a letter to the judge that his son already has paid a steep price for "20 minutes of action." Dan Turner wrote that his son's conviction on three felony sexual assault charges has shattered the 20-year-old, who has lost his appetite. The letter was made public over the weekend by a Stanford law professor who wants Persky removed from office because of the sentence. (Jason Doiy/The Recorder via AP)

SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) — A group of women’s advocates and assault survivors gave a judicial agency in San Francisco 200,000 more signatures Wednesday calling for the ouster of a judge who sentenced a former Stanford University swimmer to six months in jail for sexual assault.

The new signatures add to more than a million previously submitted to the state Commission on Judicial Performance on June 10, together with a formal complaint seeking an investigation of Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky.

The commission investigates judicial misconduct and has the power to impose punishments ranging from censure to removal from office.

“Until they do what’s right, we’re not forgetting them. We will keep fighting for all the survivors until we get a better culture,” said group spokeswoman Melissa Byrne.

On June 2, Persky sentenced former Stanford student and swim team member Brock Turner, 20, to six months in county jail for his conviction on three felony counts of sexual assault in 2015 on a woman who was unconscious from intoxication.

Prosecutors had asked for six years in state prison. Persky said during the proceeding that he believed a prison sentence would have “a severe impact” on Turner. Turner is expected to be released from his jail term after three months.

The sentence has drawn widespread outcry and international attention.

UltraViolet, a national women’s rights group, organized the submission of the signatures and a rally of about 30 people Wednesday morning outside the State Building where 10 sexual assault survivors spoke.

“Say no to rape culture,” Ruby Elton, a recent high school graduate, said to the crowd carrying signs stating “Fire Judge Persky” and “Remove Judge Persky.”

California Highway Patrol officers who provide security at the State Building allowed only five members of the group to go to the commission’s office on the 14th floor.

Behind the closed door of the office, the group could be heard chanting, “Fire Judge Persky.”

After presenting the signatures, the group leaders told news reporters that commission director and chief counsel Victoria Henley personally received the signatures from behind a plexiglass window but commission members, who were meeting Wednesday, did not greet the group.

Assault survivor April Grant, 54, of Pacifica, said outside the office, “We are not saying that all rapists should be treated equally, but justice and common sense should be used. Where is the common sense in a
three-month sentence?”

“All Judge Persky cared about was the future of Brock Turner,” Grant said.

The 11-member commission is made up of three judges, two lawyers and six citizens. It has the power only to investigate and discipline misconduct, such as corruption, and does not have the authority to change a
ruling.

The commission’s website says that errors in a judicial decision are not normally considered misconduct.

After the sentencing, Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen called Turner a “predatory offender” and said he disagreed with the sentence, but said he did not think Persky should be removed from office.

Henley was not immediately available for comment.

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