Santa Clara County Judge Aaron Persky was removed on June 14 from an upcoming sexual assault case.
This comes after the California judge sentenced Brock Turner to 6 months in jail for sexually assaulting an unconscious woman after a fraternity party at Stanford University in January 2015.
The sentence, which critics deem as too light, includes 3 years probation for the former swimmer and will require Turner to register as a sex offender for life. During the sentencing, the judge cited Turner’s clean criminal record and the impact the conviction will have on his life in the sentencing.
Santa Clara District Attorney Jeff Rosen removed the judge from the case, which involves former Kaiser Permanente surgical nurse, Cecil Webb, who allegedly sexually abused a sedated patient. The case was filed on Feb. 3, 2015.
Potential jurors for the upcoming case were excused last week after telling Persky they could not serve because they disagreed with his sentencing in the Stanford case.
“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 said in a written statement, according to San Jose Mercury News.
“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.”
Rosen said his decision to have Persky removed from the case is “a rare and carefully considered step for our office.’
The district attorney did not disclose whether he would do the same for upcoming cases.
“In the future, we will evaluate each case on its own merits,” Rosen said, “and decide if we should use our legal right to ask for another judge in order to protect public safety and pursue justice.”
The district attorney’s office did not respond to requests for a comment.
Meanwhile, a recall effort against the judge is underway, and a petition was launched for Persky’s removal from the bench. By June 15, the petition, started by Stanford University law professor Michele Dauber, had reached more than 1.2 million supporters.
“Judge Persky failed to see that the fact that Brock Turner is a white male star athlete at a prestigious university does not entitle him to leniency,” said the petition.