Hundreds of thousands of people are calling for the removal of the California judge who sentenced a former Stanford University swimmer to just six months in county jail after he was found guilty of raping an unconscious woman on campus.
As of Wednesday, a Change.org petition demanding Judge Aaron Persky, 54, vacate his bench in Santa Clara County Superior Court has attracted over 633,000 signatures.
“We the people would like to petition that Judge Aaron Persky be removed from his Judicial position for the lenient sentence he allowed in the Brock Turner rape case,” read the petition. “Despite a unanimous guilty verdict, three felony convictions, the objections of 250 Stanford students, Jeff Rosen the district attorney for Santa Clara, as well as the deputy district attorney who likened Turner to ‘a predator searching for prey’ Judge Persky allowed the lenient sentence suggested by the probation department.”
The petition condemning Persky for giving Brock Allen Turner, 20, such a leniant sentence is also asking for supporters to put their name on a White House petition, which needs 100,000 signatures to be addressed by the administration within 60 days.
“Judge Persky failed to see that the fact that Brock Turner is a white male star athlete at a prestigious university does not entitle him to leniency,” continued the statement. “He also failed to send the message that sexual assault is against the law regardless of social class, race, gender or other factors. Please help rectify this travesty to justice.”
Persky, who was re-elected on Tuesday after running unopposed, sentenced Turner to six months in county jail last week for sexually assaulting an unconscious woman after a fraternity party. The victim read an emotional statement to Turner in court, questioning whether the probation officer’s recommendation of a year or less in county jail was severe enough.
According to ABC News, Turner is appealing his conviction.
Various colleagues of Persky praised the judge in response to the criticism. Barbara Muller, a criminal defense attorney who works two weeks out of every month in Persky’s court, said he was “one of the fairest judges” in the country, and that he “considers all facts and is very thorough.”