A recall petition has been launched against the judge who sentenced Stanford University swimmer Brock Turner to just six months in jail for sexually assaulting an unconscious woman behind a dumpster back in January 2015.
Last Thursday, Turner, 20, faced up to 14 years behind bars for his actions. Santa Clara County Judge Aaron Persky ordered the surprisingly lenient ruling after citing Turner’s clean criminal record and because he believed that a harsher punishment would leave a “severe impact” on him.
The petition was created on Change.org on Monday, and it already has more than 230,000 signatures. Change.org stated that “Judge Persky failed to see that the fact that Brock Turner is a white male star athlete at a prestigious university does not entitle him to leniency. He also failed to send the message that sexual assault is against the law regardless of social class, race, gender or other factors.”
Judge Persky does have some supporters, however. “He is an absolutely solid and respected judge. Persky made the right decision,” Santa Clara County deputy public defender Gary Goodman said in a statement, via the Associated Press.
“He considers all facts and is very thorough,” Barbara Muller, a criminal defense attorney, added. “He plays it right down the middle. (According to the AP, Muller works two weeks a month in Persky’s court.)
Persky’s decision, and the harsh criticism that followed, is one of several reasons the case has gained national attention. As previously reported, a letter that the rape victim, now 23, read in court to Turner has since gone viral. In the powerful essay, the woman detailed how the incident changed her life, and slammed Turner’s claims of what happened that night.
Additionally, Turner’s father, Dan Turner, and childhood friend Leslie Rasmussen are making headlines. On Monday, letters that they wrote defending the college athlete surfaced. Dan described the rape as “20 minutes of action out of [Brock’s] 20-plus years of life.” Rasmussen, meanwhile, blamed political correctness for the court ruling.
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