The Stanford Sexual-Assault Judge Is Getting Called Out by Would-Be Jurors

“I can’t believe what you did,” said one prospective juror Thursday.

Judge Aaron PerskyJason Doiy/The Recorder/AP

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis and more, subscribe to Mother Jones' newsletters.


Last Friday, Judge Aaron Persky sparked outrage when he sentenced Brock Turner, the former Stanford student convicted of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman behind a dumpster, to just six months in a county jail. The short sentence angered supporters of the anonymous victim, many of whom were galvanized by a moving letter to Turner that the victim read out loud during his sentencing hearing.

Now, prospective jurors for another trial in California’s Santa Clara County Superior Court are refusing to serve in Persky’s courtroom on an unrelated case, reports the East Bay Times. During jury selection Thursday, at least 10 jurors called out Persky for his sentencing decision.

“I can’t believe what you did,” one prospective juror told the judge. “I can’t be here, I’m so upset,” said another. Persky reportedly thanked the objectors for their service and excused them from jury duty.

Persky, a former sex crimes prosecutor appointed to the bench in 2003, is now facing a recall effort spearheaded by Michele Landis Dauber, a Stanford law professor who has long been an advocate for sexual-assault survivors. While Persky has his supporters—mainly public defenders in his county—a Change.org petition to impeach Persky is quickly approaching a million signatures. (On Tuesday, Persky ran unopposed in his primary election.)

In handing down the controversial sentence last week, Persky cited Turner’s age (20) and clean record as “unusual circumstances” that led him to decide against the mandatory sentence of two years in state prison. Persky was following the recommendation of a probation report, which determined that he should serve six months in county jail, plus probation. Turner is expected to serve three months and be released on good behavior.

Thank you!

We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

Thank you!

We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.