Aaron Persky, judge in the Stanford rape case who sentenced Brock Turner, convicted rapist, to only six months in jail has been cleared of charges of misconduct he was facing for his treatment of the trial.
Persky’s conduct was reviewed by the California Commission on Judicial Performance, which announced on Monday that he would not receive any penalties, according to NBC News. “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,” said the commission.
Just for a little memory refresher here, Brock Turner forced himself on a passed out woman he encountered outside of a party. Turner only stopped raping her when two passersby called out to him, shouting “What the fuck are you doing? She’s unconscious.”
Turner then faced multiple felony charges “including assault with intent to rape…and sexually penetrating an unconscious person with a foreign object.” He was found guilty. He was sentenced to six months in prison for charges that can add up to a maximum of 14 years, for which prosecutors were asking for six years. After all this, he was released from prison only halfway through his sentence.
And people think rape culture isn’t real.
Persky’s handling of the case was condemned by many, including one of the case’s jurors themselves. Persky himself was a former athlete at Stanford, leading to accusations that he acted in a highly biased manner toward Turner.
During the trial, Persky reasoned that Turner did not deserve harsh punishment because of his young age and otherwise spot-free history of assaulting women. Great. “Extraordinary circumstances” saved Brock Turner from facing the reality of his crimes or taking responsibility for them.
These circumstances? His whiteness, his maleness, his elite educated status, his athleticism and, finally, the fact that Judge Aaron Persky shares all of these traits.
An entire website was created devoted to recalling Persky, which shows on its main page the invasive questions that were asked of the victim during the trial. A Change.org petition also currently exists, with over one hundred thousand signatures, calling for his recall. Even Joe Biden was outraged by the trial and the repeated harms done to the victim.
Hopefully Persky will, at minimum, take a long look at his errors in this case and recognize that his gender bias contributed to the continued traumatization of a rape survivor. This simply cannot keep happening.