Movement To Oust Judge In Stanford Rape Case Is Gaining Momentum

by
Amna Shoaib
The outrage at the extraordinarily lenient sentence handed to Brock Turner is gaining momentum.

People across the country were left baffled, and then outraged, when a convicted rapist was sentenced to a measly sentence of 6 months.

However, conscientious citizens, like Stanford law professor Michele Dauber, are not going to take the verdict sitting down. 

Brock Turner assaulted  his unconscious victim behind a dumpster, and in subsequent court hearings, had shown zero remorse over his actions, continually trying to paint his crime as the necessary result of drinking and debauchery.

Turner was facing 14 years behind the bars for his heinous crime, instead Judge Aaron Persky gave him a light-as-a-tap sentence of 6 months.

Read More: Brock Turner Is A Prime Example Of White Privilege & Rape Culture

Judge Persky rationalized his decision, saying a tougher sentence would have "severely impacted" the Stanford swimmer.

This sparked a conversation on rape culture, white privilege, and campus sexual assaults. Many wondered why Black Lives Matter activists land years in jail while people like Brock Turner could walk away, without a trace of regret. People questioned why perpetrators from a slice of the population (white, middle-class, educated) are seen as men with "potential."

Brock Turner Case

Activists believe the sentencing of Turner was a miscarriage of justice, one in which Judge Persky was complacent. This, many reason, call for his recall.

"...Virtually all campus sexual assaults involve alcohol," Dauber told NPR in an interview while explaining her initiative to oust Persky. "So if you say being intoxicated as he was and being promising as he was, is sufficient to get you probation, then you are saying that every campus sexual assault ... would be entitled to probation. It says, you'll never go to prison essentially, if you commit these crimes. So it's really an outrage."

Stanford students, along with rights groups, plan to stage a protest against the sentence at the university's Palo Alto campus.

As the university celebrates the graduation of another batch, a plane, commissioned by women's rights group UltraViolet, will fly overhead, carrying a banner that reads, "Protect Survivors. Not Rapists. #PerskyMustGo."

Brock Turner Case

Students will walk towards the commencement holding similar placards.

Brock Turner Case

A petition supporting this cause has gained steam on change.org. Another petition on MoveOn.org has 200,000 signatures. A White House petition garnered 120,000 signatures, 20,000 more than the number required to prompt a response.

 

Meanwhile, prospective jurors have declined to serve Persky as a result of Turner's sentence. While The East Bay Times put the number of jurors opposing him at 10, KPIX-TV said the number was around 20.

 

Many high-profile voices have joined the chorus calling for Judge Persky's recall, including "media consultant Joe Trippi, campaign strategist John Shallman and pollster Paul Maslin."

Members Of Congress; Rep. Jackie Speier, a Democrat from California and Rep. Ted Poe (R) from Texas, a former prosecutor and judge, also called for Persky to leave.

Previously, Vice President Joe Biden and California Attorney General Kamala Harris, had derided and condemned the sentence as well.

Recommended: Father Of Stanford Rapist Refers To Assault As '20 Minutes Of Action'

While there are many who believe Judge Persky's ouster could threaten judicial independence, petitioners for his removal insist his ignorance of rape and its impact on the victim and sympathy for the rapist's career prove he is not fit for dispensing justice. 

"He [Persky] has essentially taken campus rape out of the category of things you can go to prison for, and awarded it a lighter sentence," Dauber told NPR.

"We need justice for women now."

 

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