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Law & Justice

Santa Clara question: Recall Judge Aaron Persky



Back in 2016, Santa Clara County Superior Court judge Aaron Persky sentenced Stanford swimmer Brock Turner to six months behind bars for raping an unconscious woman. The case sparked international outrage.  

Some people were angry Turner didn’t get more jail time, considering the average sentence for rape is eleven years.

Fueled by that outrage, Stanford Law professor Michele Dauber launched a campaign to recall Judge Persky. This is the first judicial recall to make the ballot anywhere in the country since 1982.


Recall supporters argue that Persky has a track record of bias in favor of athletes and privileged men.

They point to Persky's decision in 2011 to allow defendants in a gang rape case to show photos to the jury of the victim wearing a revealing outfit.

The campaign also says that in 2015, Persky delayed sentencing so that a student convicted of beating his girlfriend could play college football.


Recall opponents say these few cases are cherry picked, and ignore thousands of other decisions he’s made during his thirteen years on the bench.

Opponents worry that this recall will force all judges to offering leniency, and alternatives to incarceration, over fears of losing their job.


An independent commission found that Persky's decision in the Turner case did not show evidence of judicial bias.


This ballot initiative has two parts for Santa Clara County voters: a question about removing Persky, and a list of possible nominees to replace him.


If a majority of voters choose to recall Persky, the nominee with the most votes will be Santa Clara County’s next judge.


So, if you want to remove Judge Persky from his position and replace him with another judge, vote yes on the recall. If you want him to stay, vote no.