The people of California have spoken loudly in the June 5 mid-term elections, recalling a sitting California judge for the first time since 1932. Judge Aaron Persky received national condemnation for sentencing a former Stanford swimmer to six months in jail for sexually assaulting an unconscious woman behind a dumpster. The prosecution had asked for a six-year sentence.
Many celebrate but some see a dangerous precedent
Many critics have been vocal in their condemnation of Judge Persky, who was also a star athlete at Stanford. On the bench since 2003, Persky also drew ire of many because his judicial background included work as a sex crimes prosecutor. In their eyes, he should known better.
However, some legal experts see the removal of a judge for a decision as dangerous precedent. According to an article in CNN, many are concerned that this type of recall threatens the independence that judges who are supposed to be free to make decisions based on how they interpret the law. Some were critical of other judgments made by Persky, but the local and national profile of this case and the sentence of the swimmer made this recall very much based on this one decision.
High profile case that went viral
The victim in this case read an emotional open letter in court at sentencing that started: “You don’t know me, but you’ve been inside me, and that’s why we’re here today.” Because the letter went viral, some argue that this also contributed to the ousting of the judge who might have otherwise kept his position. The swimmer is a registered sex offender who now lives in Ohio.
Those assaulted have their right to justice whether it is a stranger or an abusive spouse or partner. A family law attorney who handles these kinds of matters can be a tremendous asset for the victims.