"We should give judges the courage to make those hard decisions"— NBC News (@NBCNews) May 8, 2018
Judge Aaron Persky, who sentenced a former Stanford Univ. swimmer to a short jail sentence for sexual assault in a case that sparked national outrage, broke his silence. https://t.co/ST969E97j3 @NBCLA pic.twitter.com/StG5j4JZUl
In January 2015, Brock Turner, a former Stanford student raped an unconscious woman behind a dumpster.
Turner was convicted of three sexual assault charges, yet, he was sentenced to merely six months in jail and came out after serving only half of it — thanks to Aaron Persky, the judge who presided over the case.
It was an exceptionally lenient sentence for a convicted rapist. In fact, Persky even ignored the statutory minimum sentence of two years because Turner's case was “unusual” and that prison would have a “severe impact” on him.
Many believed it was a clear-cut case of white privilege and the doubts were cemented after it was revealed Persky had handed a much harsher sentence to another convicted rapist, who was Latino.
Predictably, Persky's verdict prompted widespread outrage as well as a petition for a recall election to help voters determine if the judge ought to be ousted.
Recently, after nearly a year, Persky re-emerged in the news to defend his decision and has drawn even more scorn with his latest statement.
He just compared his decision with desegregation.
"Brown v. Board of Education was unpopular in many states," he said during a press conference in Palo Alto, referencing the Supreme Court decision that racial segregation was illegal. "Imagine for a moment if those federal judges had been faced with judicial recall in the face of that unpopularity."
"We ask judges to follow the rule of law, not the rule of public opinion," he added.
[Clearly, Persky is blatantly ignoring the fact that the rule of law, clearly, does not say let rapists off with a slap on the wrist because they have a promising swimming career ahead. Also, the comparison between letting off a rapist and racial segregation is offensive on many levels.]
Stanford law professor Michele Dauber launched the recall campaign against Persky, arguing how his ruling is an example of how the criminal justice system fails rape survivors.
It still remains to be seen if Persky will be ousted. Meanwhile, he still stands by his decision.
"When the case came out and there's the social media outrage, my personal opinion was that I can take the heat, I signed on to this job, I promised to essentially ignore public opinion," he said. "That's the promise we make every juror make when they walk into the courtroom."
Thumbnail/Banner Credits: Reuters,Handout