Voters oust California judge in Brock Turner sexual assault case


The California judge in the Stanford sexual assault case has been recalled from office by local voters, an extremely rare outcome in the US court system and a major victory for activists who waged a two-year campaign against the official. Judge Aaron Persky faced international scrutiny in June of 2016 after he sentenced the ex-Stanford University student Brock Turner to six months in jail. Turner, whose name became synonymous with campus sexual assault across America, had been convicted of three felonies for assaulting an unconscious woman outside of a fraternity party on the elite campus in northern California.

The law prescribed a minimum of two years in state prison for Turner’s offenses, but Persky ordered more limited jail time and probation, which resulted in the then 20-year-old being released after three months. Persky, who recently said he had no regrets about the case, is the first judge to be recalled by US voters since 1977, and the first in California since 1932.

The Stanford case ignited international debates about sexual violence long before the #MeToo movement shone a light on assault, harassment and abuse in a wide range of industries. The case went viral after the victim read a powerful 7,000-word statement in court about rape culture and the trauma she endured in the aftermath of the attack and during the trial. The judge also received backlash for expressing sympathy to Turner during sentencing, saying: “A prison sentence would have a severe impact on him.” Turner’s father was also criticised for lamenting that his son was facing consequences for “20 minutes of action”.(theguardian)…[+]