The judge who sentenced Brock Turner to just six months in jail for sexually assaulting a woman at a Stanford fraternity party has been removed from another sexual assault case — because the district attorney's office, which asked for the removal, doesn't trust him to judge it fairly.
Aaron Persky was supposed to preside over a case involving a male nurse accused of sexually assaulting a female patient while she was under anesthesia. But the administrative judge of the court complied with the request of the Santa Clara District Attorney’s Office to remove him on Tuesday.
In a statement, the DA’s office said they filed a motion to remove Persky because they "lack confidence that Judge Persky can fairly participate" in the hearing.
"This is a rare and carefully considered step for our Office," the statement read. "In the future, we will evaluate each case on its own merits and decide if we should use our legal right to ask for another judge in order to protect public safety and pursue justice."
The DA’s decision to remove Persky from this case wasn’t just because he had given a lenient sentence to another man who assaulted an unconscious woman. It was that, plus another decision that made no sense to them — dismissing misdemeanor charges against a woman accused of stealing mail.
"We’re disappointed he didn’t allow a jury to do its job and deliberate," Jim Leonard, supervising deputy district attorney in the central misdemeanor division, told BuzzFeed News. Leonard explained there was evidence that the woman stole mail, and that judges usually only dismiss cases due to lack of evidence. "We have a lack of confidence in his judgment at this point," Leonard added.
After a powerful letter that Turner’s victim read to him in court went viral, it sparked international outrage over Persky’s lenient sentencing of Turner. A million people signed a petition to remove Persky from the bench, and serious political movements to recall him next year are now gaining steam.