News & Opinion | June 6, 2018 9:32 am

Voters Unseat Judge Who Gave Stanford Rapist Brock Turner Light Sentence

Aaron Persky is the first judge to be recalled from the bench in California in 87 years.

In this May 15, 2018 file photo, Judge Aaron Persky poses for a photo with a sign opposing his recall in Los Altos Hills, Calif. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)
In this May 15, 2018 file photo, Judge Aaron Persky poses for a photo with a sign opposing his recall in Los Altos Hills, Calif. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)
AP

California voters unseated Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky on Tuesday night following national outrage after he sentenced rapist Brock Turner to only six months in jail and three years’ probation, the Washington Post reports. Turner was convicted on three felony counts in connection with sexually assaulting an unconscious woman behind a dumpster in 2015 and his light sentencing reportedly led the California legislature “to reform its penal code to require judges to sentence sexual assault perpetrators to prison time rather than probation or jail, as in Turner’s case.”

The change wasn’t enough to keep Persky on the bench.

“As a prosecutor, I fought vigorously for victims. As a judge, my role is to consider both sides,” Persky, 56, wrote in defense of himself on the ballot. “California law requires every judge to consider rehabilitation and probation for first-time offenders. It’s not always popular, but it’s the law, and I took an oath to follow it without regard to public opinion or my opinions as a former prosecutor.”

Turner, who had been on the Stanford swim team, was released after serving only three months. The San Francisco Chronicle reports this is the first time a judge in California has been recalled from the bench in 87 years.