Recalling a longtime respected judge and former prosecutor over a single decision in which he followed the Santa Clara County Probation Department's recommendation sets a dangerous precedent that should concern us all. Every judge has made an unpopular decision; judicial recalls are an extreme step that should be reserved for actual misconduct.
Recall proponents' claims of Judge Persky's bias are completely unfounded and unfortunately reflect these unsettling times when judges are more and more frequently coming under political attack.
In fact, not one, but three independent organizations - including California's official judicial ethics commission - have considered or reviewed Judge Persky's record and found that there is no evidence of any misconduct or bias. Here are the links:
California's Commission on Judicial Performance
"The commission received thousands of complaints and petitions about Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky’s June 2, 2016 sentencing of Brock Allen Turner, a Stanford University student-athlete who was convicted of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman behind a dumpster outside a college party. [...]The commission has concluded that there is not clear and convincing evidence of bias, abuse of authority, or other basis to conclude that Judge Persky engaged in judicial misconduct warranting discipline."
The Associated Press
"The AP reviewed court records for 20 criminal cases in which Persky has issued sentences, including all seven trials he presided over, since January 2015. [...] In the Stanford case, the judge was blasted for going too easy on a well-heeled, white defendant. But a review of Persky’s other rulings gives no indication of racial bias in the cases where a defendant’s race is listed in court papers."
The Santa Clara County Bar Association
"The SCCBA has seen no credible assertions that in issuing the sentence, Judge Persky violated the law or his ethical obligations or acted in bad faith. Nor is the SCCBA aware of any other complaints or allegations of impropriety against Judge Persky during his 13 years on the bench. Seeking to punish a judge under these circumstances presents the very threat to judicial independence that the SCCBA has resolved to condemn."
Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen, Santa Clara County Public Defender Molly O'Neal and Santa Clara County Assessor Larry Stone are just a few of the many community leaders who oppose this misguided recall. A list of additional leaders and community members opposing this misguided recall campaign can be found here.