Aaron Persky, the judge facing intense backlash over his sentencing in the sexual assault trial of a former Stanford swimmer, has been removed from another sex assault case at the request of the Santa Clara District Attorney's Office.
The office said Tuesday it filed a motion to disqualify Persky from an upcoming trial in which a male nurse allegedly sexually assaulted an anesthetized female patient. Persky was disqualified by the administrative judge of the court following the DA's request.
"We lack confidence that Judge Persky can fairly participate in this upcoming hearing," the DA's office said in a statement.
Persky's June 2 sentencing of former Stanford University star athlete Brock Turner to six months in county jail and three years' probation, sparked outrage in the Bay Area and worldwide. He sexually assaulting an intoxicated, unconscious woman after a fraternity party in January 2015. He had faced many more years in prison, and many felt a six-month sentence was too lenient.
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.
Persky didn't respond to requests for comment, the AP reported.
A letter written by the woman Brock Turner assaulted — read out aloud in court — went viral after the sentencing, and more than a million people have signed a petition asking the California Commission on Judicial Performance calling to oust him.
The embattled judge slid into a new six-year term last Tuesday. Voters didn't get a chance to remove him from his post through the ballot, as he ran unopposed.
One juror in the Brock Turner case wrote a letter to Persky, Palo Alto Online reported Monday, saying "with the ridiculously lenient sentence that Brock Turner received, I am afraid that it makes a mockery of the whole trial and the ability of the justice system to protect victims of assault and rape."
Several potential jurors have told the judge they couldn't serve on a jury in his courtroom because of the Turner sentence.
Persky was removed from the new sexual assault case the day after he tossed out a misdemeanor mail theft case before it reached the jury. Persky ruled on Monday that prosecutors had not proven their theft case during the two-day trial and dismissed the case and the jury before deliberations started.
According to county prosecutor James Leonard, it was Persky's first case since the Brock Turner case.
A statement from the Santa Clara DA's office, released Tuesday, says:
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. This is a rare and carefully considered step for our Office. In the future, we will evaluate each case on its own merits and decide if we should use our legal right to ask for another judge in order to protect public safety and pursue justice.
Information from The Associated Press was included in this story.