The Santa Clara County judge who is fighting a recall campaign after giving a six-month sentence to former Stanford student Brock Turner has recused himself from a different sex case. In a statement filed with the court, Judge Aaron Persky said that “a personal family situation” which arose out of the bad publicity surrounding his Turner ruling was the cause for his disqualification.
Persky rose to notoriety after presiding over the case of Brock Turner, a Stanford University swimmer who sexually assaulted an unconscious woman behind a dumpster sent around souvenir photos of his victim to friends. Turner — who blamed Stanford’s party culture for his actions — was given only a six month jail sentence. His harshest punishment came from USA Swimming, who banned Turner from the sport for life.
Persky was supposed to decide this week whether to reduce a man’s sentence for possession of child pornography from a felony to a misdemeanor. The case involved has been cited by Persky’s opponents as evidence of his leniency toward sex crimes. “While on vacation earlier this month, my family and I were exposed to publicity surrounding this case,” Persky wrote in his recusal. “This publicity has resulted in a personal family situation such that ‘a person aware of the facts might reasonably entertain a doubt that the judge would be able to be impartial.'”
In the months since Turner’s case, Persky has been removed from a case in which a male nurse stood accused of sexually assaulting a woman who was under anesthesia, gave a domestic abuser “weekend jail,” and had older cases (in which he gave sexual abusers ultra-light sentences) placed under scrutiny.
(Via San Jose Mercury News)