San Francisco

1 Million Signatures Call for Judge's Removal Over Stanford Sexual Assault Case

After garnering nearly 1 million signatures, several advocacy groups will submit petitions on Friday calling for the ousting of the Santa Clara judge who ruled in the Stanford sexual assault case.

The petitions will be submitted 12 p.m. Friday at the California Commission on Judicial Performance office in San Francisco. A rally will be held outside on Golden Gate Avenue, according to activist groups. 

Santa Clara Federal Judge Aaron Persky has been the subject of national scrutiny following the six-month jail sentence he handed down to Brock Turner, a former Stanford swimmer who was seen and later convicted of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman behind a dumpster at a university frat party. Many have also accused Persky, who is a former Stanford athlete himself, of showing bias in favor of Turner.

The embattled judge slid into a new six-year term on Tuesday. Voters didn't get a chance to remove him from his post through the ballot, as he ran unopposed.

Stanford law professor Michele Landis Dauber, along with organizers from advocacy groups UltraViolet, Daily Kos and MoveOn, are slated to speak at the rally.   

"With one-in-four women sexually assaulted in college, we need judges who work to protect survivors, not their rapists," said Nita Chaudhary, co-founder of UltraViolet, announcing the rally. "The California Commission on Judicial Performance must move swiftly to remove Judge Persky from the bench and send a clear signal that rape apologists will never be tolerated as part of the criminal justice system."

All told, UltraViolet’s petition collected about 824,000 signatures since it launched earlier this week, while petitions from MoveOn and Daily Kos culled 167,000 combined. There have been a slew of other petitions calling for Persky’s removal.

The 6-month sentence, which a parole board recommended, roiled victims' rights groups and ushered the case to the forefront of a growing conversation about sexual assaults on college campuses. A searing, 12-page account of the attack that the victim wrote has been shared thousands of times on social media.

"My damage was internal, unseen, I carry it with me," wrote the victim. "You took away my worth, my privacy, my energy, my time, my safety, my intimacy, my confidence, my own voice, until today."

The letter, which has been haralded for its bravery, will also be read aloud next week during a meeting of U.S. House of Representatives. 

Since the sentencing hearing last month, a high school guidance counselor apologized for writing a letter supporting the assailant, and Vice President Joe Biden penned an open letter praising the victim for her courage.

"You were failed by a culture on our college campuses where one in five women is sexually assaulted—year after year after year,” Biden wrote. “A culture that promotes passivity. That encourages young men and women on campuses to simply turn a blind eye."

Turner, who is likely to serve three-months of his sentence, is appealing his conviction. He will have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life. 

Contact Us