Aaron Persky, Stanford Rapist Judge, Recalled

Aaron Persky, Stanford Rapist Judge, Recalled

Aaron Persky, Stanford Rapist Judge, Recalled

California finally got it right. If the name Aaron Perksy doesn’t sound familiar, perhaps Brock Turner does. Turner was the Stanford swimmer convicted of raping a woman and being sentenced to a whopping six months in jail. Persky was that judge. For weeks after handing down that sentence, national media kept the horror of it all alive. Then nothing. Would California voters do anything? It took time but last night they finally let their voices be heard and Persky was recalled.

Perhaps California shouldn’t have waited so long to recall a judge. However, if one needed to be recalled, it was Persky.

The victim in the Turner case was not only drunk at the time of the rape but she was unconscious. Yet Persky apparently bought the argument that Turner somehow failed to realize she had not given consent to sex. The California voters did not agree that was a valid defense.

Persky’s supporters argued that recalling him would “both erode the democratic process and cause judges everywhere to impose lengthier sentences for fear of public backlash.” Perhaps the question should be, “is this a bad thing?” Aren’t criminal sentences supposed to punish someone for violating the law? Aren’t they supposed to act as a deterrent to prevent others from acting illegally?

What happened in California shows the frustration voters everywhere have with judges handing down sentences that are not in line with the crime.

Would the recall have happened if it weren’t for the #MeToo movement? Possibly. The outrage over the judgment was real and started before the movement began dominating the news. However, as USA today notes, “ballots cast Tuesday were made in the backdrop of the movement, which has emboldened sexual assault survivors and forced criminal investigations and oustings of powerful men, most notably with Harvey Weinstein.”

Will the recall be a reason for stricter sentences from judges? Only time will tell. It should, however, be a wakeup call. Voters are tired of the lenient sentences being given to certain defendants for serious crimes. Judges who refuse to apply the law equally to defendants, judges who don’t appear to value the rights of the victims as much as they do the rights of the accused need to be aware that the tide is turning.

It is no longer enough to say a sentence was legal. The sentence should fit the crime. The sentence should take into account the history of the defendant. It should take into account the bearing of the defendant — is there remorse, is there an admittance of having done something wrong? Most of all, a judge shouldn’t be so foolish as to talk about how a prison sentence will have a “severe impact” on the defendant’s life and not take into account the severe impact the rape will have on the victim.

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5 Comments
  • GWB says:

    judges who don’t appear to value the rights of the victims as much as they do the rights of the accused
    Let’s be careful, though, that we don’t go the other way (like with the feminist ‘rape’ issue*). What the judges have to work on is ensuring TRUTH. But, the ‘rights’ of the accused isn’t really what’s at issue here…

    The sentence should take into account the history of the defendant. It should take into account the bearing of the defendant — is there remorse, is there an admittance of having done something wrong? Most of all, a judge shouldn’t be so foolish as to talk about how a prison sentence will have a “severe impact” on the defendant’s life and not take into account the severe impact the rape will have on the victim.
    And I mostly disagree with all of this. I don’t think any of that should be taken into account. The sentence already takes into account (supposedly) the impact on the victim. And the justice system should dispense justice not mercy. The executive pardon power is there for mercy. The judicial system should enact justice alone.

    (* “feminist ‘rape’ issue” is the whole “a woman said she was raped, and that’s enough to crucify any man so accused!” baloney. It is NOT justice.)

    • Amanda Green says:

      I recognize the danger of going too far and have warned against it. However, I have seen too often over the years sentences like this. The fact of the case were not in that much dispute. It came down to whether or not the defendant knew there was consent. That was an issue of fact and it was found consent had not been given. To then worry about how badly the defendant would be impacted by going to jail did seem to discount the damage done to the woman. That was the point I was trying to make.

      I believe in the law and in the State’s duty to prove all elements of a case before a defendant can judged guilty. But, as I pointed out in a post at the time the original sentence came down, this judge was anything but even-handed when it came to sentencing rapists with the same criminal history. Six months for this particular rapist and yet, around the same time, he gave another young man serious jail time. What made such a sentence less heinous for the second defendant than it did for the first?

      As for the “you must believe a woman who cries rape” argument, oh hell no. I’ve seen too many instances where rape has been alleged after the effect because the woman regretted what she did or because she didn’t want daddy or mommy to know she’d had sex willingly. I’ve seen it be used to try to blackmail the guy into doing something or simply to punish him because he decided not to see her any more.

  • GWB says:

    I didn’t think you would go too far, Amanda. But I see people reading your statement and going that extra step.
    (And the parenthesis was for folks who might misread my statement.)

  • Jim says:

    ”Most of all, a judge shouldn’t be so foolish as to talk about how a prison sentence will have a “severe impact” on the defendant’s life…”

    It seems to me that judges in many Western countries have increasingly come to see themselves more like social workers more obligated to their ”clients” [previously called defendants], not dispensers of objective and balanced justice for all.

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