WASHINGTON, August 25, 2016 – The judge who sentenced a Stanford college student to six months in jail for raping an unconscious woman announced he is no longer hearing criminal cases.
Persky told his superiors that he is stepping down so that incoming cases will not receive unwarranted national attention. The judge will begin hearing civil cases next month in San Jose.
Persky will be replaced by Judge Rise Jones Pichon.
Judge Aaron Persky received national attention after a controversially light sentence in the case of Brock Turner. Turner was found guilty of rape of an unconscious woman, but Persky sentenced Turner, a former Stanford swimmer, to only six months in county jail. he could have faced up to 14 years in prison.
Turner is expected to be released early in September for good behavior.
The sentence ignited a firestorm of controversy. The massive public outcry triggered a recall election, after thousands of voters demanded he be removed from his role as judge.
Recall judge Aaron Persky if you want your daughters, sisters and girlfriends to be protected from people like Brock Turner. #stanfordrapist
— Alexis (@oneNonly_Lex) August 26, 2016
Presiding Judge Risë Jones Pichon supported Persky in a written statement, saying:
“While I firmly believe in Judge Persky’s ability to serve in his current assignment, he has requested to be assigned to the civil division, in which he previously served. Judge Perky believes the change will aid the public and the court by reducing the distractions that threaten to interfere with his ability to effectively discharge the duties of his current criminal assignment. A reassignment is possible due to the request of another judge to relocate to Palo Alto. Although the Presiding Judge normally implements assignment changes in January of each year, when two judges simply want to swap assignments for which they are both eminently qualified, there is no reason to delay implementation of a change they both desire.”
Pesky was scheduled to decide on Thursday whether to reduce a felony conviction to a misdemeanor.
Although the move by Persky will remove the media from his courtroom, it will not end the discussion of sentencing for perpetrators of rape.
In California, lawmakers to to are expected to vote on a bill that would impose minimum sentences for sexual assaults committed on an unconscious or severely intoxicated person.
Even without Perksy on the criminal bench, the debate over his rulings are likely to continue.