Un­der­fire judge bows out from up­com­ing sex case

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Worldwide -

PALO ALTO — A Cal­i­for­nia judge un­der fire for a light sen­tence given to a Stan­ford Univer­sity swim­mer has re­cused him­self from mak­ing his first key de­ci­sion in an­other sex crimes case.

Santa Clara County Judge Aaron Per­sky filed a state­ment with the court say­ing that some peo­ple might doubt his im­par­tial­ity, The Mer­cury News re­ported on Mon­day.

The judge is the tar­get of a re­call cam­paign that started in June af­ter he sen­tenced for­mer Stan­ford swim­mer Brock Turner (20), to six months in jail for sex­u­ally as­sault­ing an in­tox­i­cated woman who passed out be­hind a trash bin af­ter a fra­ter­nity party.

Per­sky was sched­uled this week to con­sider a re­quest from Robert Chain to re­duce his con­vic­tion for pos­sess­ing child pornog­ra­phy from a felony to a mis­de­meanour. The judge said last year he would be re­cep­tive to the idea if the plumber stayed sober.

“While on va­ca­tion ear­lier this month, my fam­ily and I were ex­posed to public­ity sur­round­ing this case,” the judge wrote in his brief rul­ing. “This public­ity has re­sulted in a per­sonal fam­ily sit­u­a­tion such that ‘a per­son aware of the facts might rea­son­ably en­ter­tain a doubt that the judge would be able to be im­par­tial.’ “

The news­pa­per re­ports that Michele Dauber, a Stan­ford law pro­fes­sor who is lead­ing the re­call, said she is pleased by Per­sky’s re­cusal. Gary Good­man, a deputy pub­lic de­fender who op­poses a re­call, said the re­cusal is a prime ex­am­ple of Per­sky’s in­tegrity.

Per­sky fol­lowed a rec­om­men­da­tion by the county pro­ba­tion depart­ment to sen­tence Turner, the for­mer Stan­ford swim­mer, to six months in prison de­spite prose­cu­tors seek­ing six years. Turner could have faced up to 14 years in prison.

The 23-year-old vic­tim read an im­pas­sioned state­ment at the sen­tenc­ing hear­ing. She de­scribed the as­sault in graphic de­tail and said her “in­de­pen­dence, nat­u­ral joy, gen­tle­ness, and steady life­style I had been en­joy­ing be­came dis­torted be­yond recog­ni­tion.” — AFP.

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