Court Temporarily Halts Recall Effort of Judge in Brock Turner Case

A court on Friday temporarily halted the campaign seeking to oust a Bay Area judge targeted for recall for sentencing a former Stanford University student-athlete convicted of sexual assault to jail instead of prison.

Campaign officials said Friday that Santa Clara County election officials authorized campaign officials to begin collecting voter signatures to put the recall of Santa Clara County judge Aaron Persky on the June ballot. Persky was targeted for recall last year after sentencing former Stanford University swimmer Brock Turner to six months in jail for sexually assaulting a young woman passed out for too much alcohol.

Elizabeth Pipkin, Persky's attorney, argued that the recall effort is misguided.

"He is a good and fair judge who has always endeavored to follow the law," Pipkin said. "He deserves his day in court. He deserves a fair hearing. He deserves fair consideration by the people of this county."

Persky's lawyers also argued that proponents need permission from the California secretary of state because county judges are state officers.

Pipkin said the campaign is misleading voters by saying they can choose the judge's replacement if he's recalled. The governor is the only person authorized to replace county judges, Pipkin said.

Persky's lawyers contend that recall organizers must restart their campaign with the state.

Retired Orange County Judge Marjorie Laird Carter scheduled an Aug. 23 hearing. Carter is hearing the case in San Jose after all the Santa Clara County judges recused themselves because of their relationship with Persky.

If Carter rules in Persky's favor, it will shorten the time proponents are allotted to gather 90,000 Santa Clara County voter signatures to qualify the issue for the June ballot.

"We believe that this is simply a last-ditch desperate effort by Judge Persky to avoid the democratic process," said Stanford University law professor Michele Dauber, who is leading the campaign effort.

NBC Bay Area's Scott Budman contributed to this report.

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