Judge in Brock Turner sentencing appears likely to be recalled

The Latest: Early results show voters favoring judge recall

Santa Clara County Voters Recall Judge Persky

As did the county's presiding judge, Hon. Persky made global headlines in 2016 for the lenient sentence he gave convicted rapist Brock Turner.

Persky had fought to block the recall election, but an appellate court ruled that it could take place.

Persky, 56, was unavailable for comment. Doing so meant voters in Tuesday's countywide elections would vote on removing him. But even though Hendrickson has yet to officially replace him, she's already under intense scrutiny from reformers and activists who worry that her background as a prosecutor will make her err on the side of retributive rather than restorative justice.

Santa Clara County district attorney Jeff Rosen did not appeal the sentence. She defeated another lawyer who ran as a recall opponent.

Voters opted to oust Santa Clara County Judge Aaron Persky, the first time a California judge has been removed in this way since 1932.

However, some critics of the recall vote have said that the vote is problematic for judicial independence. Recall supporters say they're exercising their democratic rights.

By late Tuesday night, the gap was so wide that retired Judge LaDoris Cordell, a leading member of the No Recall of Judge Persky campaign, said the group realized "we could not close the gap".

Dauber holds a doctorate in sociology and has always been an advocate for victims of sexual assault. Turner could have faced up to 10 years in prison, and reports said the prosecution asked Persky for six years in prison.

The anonymous victim, known as Emily Doe, came forward following the sentencing to tell Turner he had taken "my worth, my privacy, my energy, my time, my safety, my intimacy, my confidence".

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Within days after the sentencing hearing, Persky was quietly "re-elected" to a six-year term without a vote because he had drawn no challengers.

Judge criticized for Stanford athlete's rape...

As of last August, more than 91 law professors - including almost 30 from Stanford - had signed a statement in "strong opposition" to the campaign, arguing that it "threatens the fundamental principles of judicial independence" and could continue the cycle of mass incarceration by encouraging harsher sentences, particularly for people of color and the poor.

When I traveled last month and met a number people from other states, particularly Massachusetts, New York and D.C., many were very aware of the Persky case.

Levenson expressed concern that "judges will now be looking over their shoulders when they make tough decisions".

"Judge Persky made what appeared to be a challengeable decision at the right point in time, " said Los Angeles-based political consultant Harvey Englander, who has handled judicial races.

Recalling a judge is not easy, a reality reflected by its rarity in the electoral process. "That is the real problem with what happened here".

Stanford Law Professor Michele Dauber was friends with Turner's victim and she led the movement to recall the judge. The study found judges issued longer sentences for serious felony conviction when they were close to re-election.

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