Lack of confidence

Amid uproar, controversial Stanford rape case judge yanked from similar trial

Boxes of petitions calling for the removal of Judge Aaron Persky from the bench after his controversial sentencing in the Stanford rape case, are seen at the California Commission on Judicial Performance office, in San Francisco, June 10, 2016. (REUTERS/Stephen Lam)

Santa Clara County Judge Aaron Persky was removed from a new sexual assault case that bears similarities to the Stanford University case amid a public uproar over his handling of the sentencing in the Stanford case. The move comes after the Santa Clara District Attorney’s office deployed a strategy known as “papering” in which prosecutors preemptively declared Persky is “prejudiced.” Such a move automatically disqualifies a judge from hearing a case. The DA’s office went ahead with the papering strategy not only due to the controversy surrounding what many have deemed a lenient sentence for Brock Turner in the Stanford rape case, but for his conduct in another misdemeanor stolen property case that followed Turner’s sentencing. Persky, in an unusual move, tossed the case before the jury had a chance to deliberate, raising the eyebrows of those in the prosecutor’s office.

In a statement to The Guardian, the DA’s office said, “We are disappointed and puzzled at Judge Persky’s unusual decision to unilaterally dismiss a case before the jury could deliberate. 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.” Persky has come under heavy fire for sentencing Brock Turner, who was convicted of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman, to a six-month stint in a county jail. The petition calling for his dismissal from the bench has amassed more than 1.2 million signatures to date.

Read the full story at The Guardian.

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