It feels like it was just yesterday that the victim impact letter written by the women raped by Stanford University swimmer Brock Turner went viral, but it’s already been three months. That’s half of his sentence, and thanks to “good behavior” behind bars, his six month sentence has been cut in half and he’s being released this Friday. A lot of people are, understandably, upset about this, and one group has even announced an organized protest outside the Santa Clara County Courthouse. This is all part of the effort to have Judge Aaron Persky, who sentenced Turner, removed from the bench.
The protest is being organized by UltraViolet, an online anti-sexism community. They’ve designed flyers (PDF) demanding Persky’s ousting, which bicyclists will wear as rolling billboards around the court house. Since Turner’s sentencing, Ultraviolet has collected over 1,000,000 signatures on a petition asking for Persky’s removal and organized various other acts of protests surrounding the case.
“Brock Turner was proven guilty of raping an unconscious woman behind a dumpster,” UltraViolet co-founder Nita Chaudhry said in a statement . “There were witnesses. There was evidence. And there is a woman whose life will be forever changed by the assault. But because Judge Persky prioritized the well being of Brock Turner, a white privileged athlete, over the survivor of his crimes – Turner is now free. And that’s why more than 1 million people from California and across the country are calling on the Commission for Judicial Performance to recognize Judge Persky’s dangerous bias and remove him from the bench.”
The protest itself will begin at 9:00 a.m. local time with a press conference to follow an hour later at 10:00 a.m.
UPDATE: There is a statement from Judge Persky on the website opposing his recall. While it does not directly address the Turner case, you can read between the lines. While it can be argued that Persky gives preferential treatment to student athletes, he doesn’t appear to think so:
I believe strongly in judicial independence. I took an oath to uphold the Constitution, not to appease politicians or ideologues. When your own rights and property are at stake, you want the judge to make a fair and lawful decision, free from political influence.
I have served the public for almost 20 years, first as a criminal prosecutor for the Santa Clara County DA’s Office, and for the last 12 years as a Superior Court Judge.
As a prosecutor, I prosecuted hate crimes and sexually violent predators. I received the California Association of Human Relations Organizations Civil Rights Leadership Award for my work on hate crimes. I served as a board member for the Support Network for Battered Women and was a member of the Santa Clara County Network for a Hate-Free Community.
As a judge, I have heard thousands of cases. I have a reputation for being fair to both sides.
I graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Stanford University. I attended UC Berkeley School of Law. I am married and have two wonderful children. It has been a privilege to serve you and I ask for your support.