California Judge Who Sentenced Stanford Swimmer Is Recalled - NBC New York
Decision 2018

Decision 2018

The latest news on local, state and national midterm elections

California Judge Who Sentenced Stanford Swimmer Is Recalled

The case sparked a national debate over the criminal justice system's treatment of sexual assault victims and racial inequities in court

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Voters Recall Judge Aaron Persky

    Voters have recalled a judge from office after he sentenced a former Stanford University swimmer convicted of sexual assault to a short jail sentence instead of prison. Robert Handa reports. (Published Wednesday, June 6, 2018)

    Northern California voters on Tuesday recalled a judge from office after he sentenced a former Stanford University swimmer convicted of sexual assault to a short jail sentence instead of prison.

    Voters opted to oust Santa Clara County Judge Aaron Persky. The judge was targeted for recall in June 2016 shortly after he sentenced Brock Turner to six months in jail for sexually assaulting a young woman outside a fraternity house on campus. Prosecutors argued for a 7-year prison sentence.

    Turner is also required to register for life as a sex offender. He was released from jail for good behavior after serving three months. He now lives with his parents near Dayton, Ohio.

    The judge was following a recommendation from the county probation department, and the California Commission on Judicial Performance ruled that he handled the case legally. Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen didn't appeal the sentence. Rosen also opposed the recall, though he said the sentence was too lenient.

    Clerk Pulls Out Machete on Would-Be Robber

    [NATL] Clerk Pulls Out Machete on Would-Be Robber

    A would-be robber armed with a knife had a surprise in store when an Alabama store clerk pulled out a machete in defense. The two's brief knife fight was caught on camera before the clerk runs out to damage the robber's car.

    According to police, suspect Seth Holcomb walked up to the counter to make a purchase. He leaves the store and then comes back in as if to make a second purchase. Then, he pulled out a knife at the counter. What he didn't expect was that the clerk would pull out a machete of his own.

    (Published Wednesday, March 20, 2019)

    The case sparked a national debate over the criminal justice system's treatment of sexual assault victims and racial inequities in court. Persky is white and holds undergraduate degrees from Stanford and a law degree from the University of California, Berkeley. Many complained Persky showed too much deference to Turner, a white Stanford scholarship athlete whose parents could afford a private attorney.

    Persky declined comment when reached by phone late Tuesday.

    The election was viewed as one of the first electoral tests of the #MeToo movement's political clout.

    The victim's statement read in court before Turner's sentence was published online and circulated widely on social media. Known as Emily Doe in court, the statement focused a national spotlight on the local recall effort.

    "You took away my worth, my privacy, my energy, my time, my intimacy, my confidence, my own voice, until today," she read. She also recounted the ordeal of the investigation and Turner's trial, where she was cross-examined about her drinking habits and sexual experience.

    "Instead of taking time to heal, I was taking time to recall the night in excruciating detail, in order to prepare for the attorney's questions that would be invasive, aggressive, and designed to steer me off course, to contradict myself, my sister, phrased in ways to manipulate my answers," she read.

    YouTube Mom Accused of Abusing Foster Kids for Clicks

    [NATL] YouTube Mom Accused of Abusing Foster Kids for Clicks

    Machelle Hackney of Maricopa, Arizona, is accused of forcing her adopted children to participate in her YouTube channel and abusing them if they did not recall their lines or perform as directed. Hackney's channel had accrued hundreds of millions of views since she joined in 2012.

    (Published Wednesday, March 20, 2019)

    The Associated Press doesn't general identify victims of sexual crimes.

    Citing judicial ethics, Persky has declined to discuss the case in detail because Turner has appealed. But Persky told The Associated Press in an interview that he has no regrets over how he handled the case or his courtroom.

    Early returns showed Santa Clara County assistant district attorney Cindy Seeley Hendrickson leading in the race to replace the judge.

    Associated Press writer Jocelyn Gecker contributed to this report.