"Santa Clara residents deserve a judge who will protect victims, not rapists," said Stanford law professor Michele Dauber as the campaign to recall the judge in the Brock Turner case officially began. Dauber and other activists filed a notice of intent Monday to recall Santa Clara Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky, WGNO reports. The judge has a "long pattern of bias in cases involving sex crimes and violence against women in favor of white or privileged defendants, particularly college athletes," which came to light after he sentenced Turner to just six months in jail for the sexual assault of an unconscious woman in 2015, the Recall Persky campaign said in a statement. Prosecutors had asked for six years.
If campaigners can gather 58,634 voter signatures, the measure to recall Persky will appear on the countywide ballot in June of next year. Recall supporters say it will send a message to the whole country. Persky has already shifted from criminal to civil court, and supporters including District Attorney Jeff Rosen note that the Turner case has led to changes in the law, the San Jose Mercury News reports. "Judge Persky’s sentence in that case was wrong, in my opinion, but he had the right to give it,” Rosen said in a statement. "My focus as we move forward is less about an individual judge than it is to the victims of campus sexual assault." (A state commission cleared Persky of misconduct last year.)