The Judge Who Gave Brock Turner Six Months for Rape Has Been Blocked from a Sexual Assault Case

Judge Aaron Persky has been removed by Santa Clara County prosecutors from hearing a case involving sex crimes in response to public outcry after his lenient sentencing of Brock Turner, a Stanford student who sexually assaulting an unconscious woman. While Turner faced a maximum of 14 years in prison for his crimes, Persky sentenced him to six months, and that sentence has since been reduced to three months.

via Wikimedia and licensed through Creative Commons 3.0
via Wikimedia and licensed through Creative Commons 3.0

Persky’s justification for Turner’s sentence was that he felt prison would have a “severe impact on him.” His clear desire to protect a rapist over his victim—combined with the fact that Persky’s sentence was shaped by Turner being a white, wealthy student Persky’s alma mater—has lead many to believe he is unfit to be dealing with such cases. Also contributing to Persky’s removal from the case were the numerous jurors who refused to participate in a case heard by him.

Persky was blocked from hearing the case following his decision to dismiss a non-sex crimes case before the jury had the opportunity to deliberate. “We are disappointed and puzzled at Judge Persky’s unusual decision to unilaterally dismiss a case before the jury could deliberate,” District Attorney Jeff Rosen told the LA Times. “After this and the recent turn of events, we lack confidence that Judge Persky can fairly participate in this upcoming hearing in which a male nurse sexually assaulted an anesthetized female patient. 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 decision to remove Persky from that case comes after a petition delivered by UltraViolet with over 1,000,000 signatures requesting such. Co-founder of UltraViolet Nita Chaudhary commented:

Santa Clara County prosecutors rightly know that by protecting a privileged white rapist over the survivor of his crimes, Judge Aaron Persky has undermined confidence in our judicial  system and is unfit to provide justice for the survivors of sexual assault.  We need judges that  take rape and sexual assault seriously – and that’s why more than 1 million UltraViolet  members from California to Maine are calling on the California Commission for Judicial Performance to move swiftly to remove Judge Persky from the bench.

Perksy is up for reelection this coming November, but is yet to be challenged. His removal from this sex crimes case was an important step, and it is essential that we continue to hold him and other judges who fail the justice system accountable for their actions.


Maeve is a recent graduate from Occidental College in Los Angeles, where she studied English Literature; Creative Writing; and Gender, Women and Sexuality. She is a former Ms. editorial intern and editor of multiple Lit mags and feminist zines and is currently working on a book of essays and making a documentary film.