Judge criticized for Stanford swimmer's sexual assault sentence is ousted in recall vote

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A California judge under fire for a six-month sentence for sexual assault given to a Stanford swimmer was ousted Tuesday in a recall vote.

Voters in Santa Clara County removed Judge Aaron Persky for the June 2016 sentence he gave to Brock Turner, who was accused of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman behind a dumpster, report the Associated Press, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Washington Post, the New York Times and NPR.

Turner had said he thought the sex was consensual, and served only three months of his sentence. The backlash led California lawmakers to pass a law requiring minimum sentences in sexual assault cases.

Persky, 56, was the first California judge to be recalled since 1932. Voters elected Assistant District Attorney Cindy Hendrickson to finish the remaining four years of Persky’s term.

The recall campaign was led by Stanford law professor Michele Dauber. Eleven other Stanford law professors were among 46 law professors opposing the recall. The number of California law professors opposing the recall later jumped to 90, the Los Angeles Times reported.

California’s Commission on Judicial Performance had received thousands of complaints and petitions about the sentence. It did not impose discipline, however, finding there was no clear and convincing evidence of bias, abuse of authority or other misconduct.

Persky stopped hearing criminal cases after the controversy and was working from home as a night judge, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Persky told the Associated Press last month that he didn’t regret his decision and would handle the case the same way today. He said he didn’t resign because judicial independence was at stake. “The problem with this recall is, it will pressure judges to follow the rule of public opinion as opposed to the rule of law,” he said.

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