Judge Aaron Persky issued his first public response Friday to demands for his removal from the bench, more than a year after he sentenced Stanford swimmer Brock Turner to six months in jail for sexual assault and generated widespread outrage over what critics said was an overly lenient punishment.
Turner served three months in jail for sexually assaulting an unconscious, intoxicated woman behind a dumpster near a fraternity party. He was released in September.
In a response to a recall effort filed with the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters, Persky wrote, “California law requires every judge to consider rehabilitation and probation for first-time offenders ... and I took an oath to follow it without regard to public opinion.”
The attempt to remove Persky, filed with the registrar on Monday, alleges Persky "has a long history of awarding lenient sentences to athletes and upper-class defendants for sex crimes and violence against women," noting other light sentences for crimes involving violence against women.
The judge wrote that as a former prosecutor, he was an "advocate for battered women" and that "The Associated Press reported that [his] other rulings showed no racial bias and that he closely follows probation department recommendations.”