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CBS: Judge in Stanford rape case breaks silence amid sentencing controversy, recall effort

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Judge in Stanford rape case breaks silence amid sentencing controversy, recall effort

 

SANTA CLARA COUNTY, Calif. -- A California judge whose sentence for a former Stanford University swimmer in a sex assault case garnered national controversy broke his silence Tuesday ahead of next month's recall vote.

 

The effort to recall Santa Clara County Judge Aaron Persky is being closely watched for its national political implications. If it's successful, Persky would be the first California judge recalled from office in 86 years after he sentenced then-sophomore Brock Turner to six months in jail in June 2016 for sexually assaulting a young woman. 

 

The short jail sentence sparked national outrage months before the Me Too movement took off.       

 

The case garnered national attention when BuzzFeed published the victim's emotional account of the attack and its aftermath, which she read in court before Persky sentenced Turner. A jury had found Turner guilty of assaulting the woman while she was incapacitated by alcohol outside an on-campus fraternity house in January 2015. 

 

Click on the link for the full article and video

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Quote from the judge in that article:

 

Quote

He said judges should be allowed to give defendants due process and decide based on the facts of the case without worrying about their jobs or public backlash.  

"They shouldn't be thinking, 'Who's gonna hate me if I decide one way or the other?'" he said.

 

Really?  So, your job performance should never come into consideration?  GTFO with that bull****.  

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35 minutes ago, Dont Taze Me Bro said:

Quote from the judge in that article:

 

 

Really?  So, your job performance should never come into consideration?  GTFO with that bull****.  

I think I agree with him in theory.  But not in practice.  I agree that Judges shouldn't consider the political winds when ruling, but there also needs to be a system to address failures.

 

 

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Ultimately, judiciary doesn't exist in a vacuum (precisely why recall procedure exists in CA).  If CA wanted to limit it to misconduct, they could have implemented an impeachment procedure instead, but they went with recall.  With that said, I'm not sure this is the appropriate case for a recall.

 

The judge gave the sentence that was recommended by the neutral probation department.  If people are unhappy with the lenient sentence, then the appropriate answer would be to change the sentencing guideline or the criminal code (which the CA legislature did).  It's not like the judge wildly departed from comparable cases to hand down a lenient sentence in this case.  Our perception of forcing sex on unconscious person has changed (as it should have) and the law at the time of the Turner trial had not caught up to the public's opinion on the severity of appropriate punishment.  The law has been amended.  It's no reason to recall a judge who applied the law and sentencing recommendation as it existed at the time of the trial.

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He didn't make the punishment fit the crime, and that's what recall is about.

 

The woman read a statement on the impact that event had and will continue to have on her life. The judge ignored all that and sentenced based on what the affect the sentence would have on the criminal, choosing the least punishment.

 

 

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You're a public servant and your rulings affect the safety of our society. That horse**** ruling tells other college kids I can get off from one of the most serious crimes imaginable with an effective slap on the wrist.

 

I'm not saying the kid should've received life in jail but the sentence should've been in years not months.

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I agree that the punishment doesn't fit the crime.  But that's because of lenient sentencing guidelines and the lack of mandatory minimum for the offenses that Turner was convicted for (which has since been remedied by the legislature).  Is it the judge's role to hand down a sentence that would be much harsher than previously imposed on comparable cases or is it the legislature's job to fix the laws?  

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I disagree with the recall as well..... Vote him out when the time comes..... But a recall without any crazy rulings or misconduct is weird.... imho

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Just now, bearrock said:

I agree that the punishment doesn't fit the crime.  But that's because of lenient sentencing guidelines and the lack of mandatory minimum for the offenses that Turner was convicted for (which has since been remedied by the legislature).  Is it the judge's role to hand down a sentence that would be much harsher than previously imposed on comparable cases or is it the legislature's job to fix the laws?  

 

Yes, because he had the power to do so.  Times are, have and were changing, thus the change in legislature, everyone knows that the sentencing for a lot of crimes (minimum sentencing) does not justify the crime committed.  The judge knows that too.  Just because it matched up with previous rulings means nothing.  He had a chance to do a victim justice and failed miserably.  

 

Six months was a joke considering he only served 3 months, in protective custody at that, and was released.  How long should he have been sentenced?  Since the rape charges were dropped, he was facing 3 felony sexual assault charges that carry up to 14 years in prison.  Let's not forget he took advantage of an unconscious female, ran when approached by two grad students.  And basically copied his series of events from some sappy romance novel.  

 

In my opinion, getting 1 year prison time per each conviction and 2 years probation per conviction (3 years prison, 6 years probation) would have been getting off easy.  Six months and out in 3...........

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1 hour ago, Kilmer17 said:

I think I agree with him in theory.  But not in practice.  I agree that Judges shouldn't consider the political winds when ruling, but there also needs to be a system to address failures.

 

 

 

 

Yep, as long as the system to address it is burdensome.

 

Certainly got off lighter than I think he should, but as Bearrock stated that is mainly on the legislature.

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Posted (edited)

The idea of the public punishing a judge for not meeting the public’s desire in sentencing seems super scary. 

 

Judges should also be held accountable for bull**** like this case. Minimum sentencing guidelines are just that - minimums. 

 

tough line to walk. 

Edited by tshile

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2 hours ago, Kilmer17 said:

I think I agree with him in theory.  But not in practice.  I agree that Judges shouldn't consider the political winds when ruling, but there also needs to be a system to address failures.

 

 

 

15 minutes ago, tshile said:

The idea of the public punishing a judge for not meeting the public’s desire in sentencing seems super scary. 

 

Judges should also be helped accountable for bull**** like this case.

 

tough line to walk. 

 

2 hours ago, The Evil Genius said:

I'd be curious to hear Predicto's take on this issue.

 

This is right about where I’m at.

 

Being a judge must be a stressful position full of mental anguish.  No matter what you do, you’ll always hurt someone.

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43 minutes ago, twa said:

 

 

Yep, as long as the system to address it is burdensome.

 

Certainly got off lighter than I think he should, but as Bearrock stated that is mainly on the legislature.

 

Judge could have sentenced up to 14 years, they asked for 6 years and he decides on 6 months......he should worry about his job and he should face rage and lash out from the public. He didn't do anything legally wrong, but had a chance to provide some sort of justice for the victim and failed in epic fashion.  

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3 hours ago, bearrock said:

The judge gave the sentence that was recommended by the neutral probation department. 

I would be interested to know if this department 1, made a recommendation that follows similar cases 2, if the judge in question usually follows the department recommendation and 3, what is the intent of having this department in the first place?  Are judges encouraged to follow their recommendation because they are "neutral" or what?  

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3 minutes ago, TheGreatBuzz said:

I would be interested to know if this department 1, made a recommendation that follows similar cases 2, if the judge in question usually follows the department recommendation and 3, what is the intent of having this department in the first place?  Are judges encouraged to follow their recommendation because they are "neutral" or what?  

 

Presentence report in most states (I have no experience or knowledge about CA directly) functions to ensure that any mitigating or aggravating history of the defendant is presented to the court, a second check on the sentencing guideline (everyone involved in the sentencing process should be running the guidelines, but sometimes you have crappy defense attorneys.  I've seen cases where the probation officer's interview catches something that the defense attorney missed as a mitigating factor), and give the court a recommendation in comparable sentences in similar cases.  

 

With that said, judges can depart from sentencing guidelines and presentence report/recommendations in the absence of mandatory minimums.  But the movement has been increasingly towards uniformity in sentencing because you don't want two defendants with similar crimes and circumstances to receive wildly different sentences.  Giving judges a lot of leeway in this regard can work against the interest of justice too.      

 

So, I would be surprised if this particular recommendation significantly deviated from other cases.  If so, I would expect that to be a big part of the story and would ameliorate the need for legislative fix.  Opinion of the Santa Clara Bar and the Public Defender's office seem to indicate the this judge was well regarded and considered fair.  Since upward departure of sentencing recommendation is more likely and common than downward, the Public Defender's office's opinion probably indicates that the judge tends to go with the sentencing recommendation and not issue a lot of harsher than recommendation sentences.  I won't say that judicial activism never has a place.  But if we start blaming judges before calling for legislative solutions to problems created by faulty laws, we may not like the society we end up with.  

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54 minutes ago, tshile said:

The idea of the public punishing a judge for not meeting the public’s desire in sentencing seems super scary. 

 

Judges should also be held accountable for bull**** like this case. Minimum sentencing guidelines are just that - minimums. 

 

tough line to walk. 

 

I'm fine with that in cases that involve murder or rape/sexual assault.  It's not like a speeding ticket where the judge might look at some college kid with no record of speeding and give him a pass.  This woman will suffer from this attack the rest of her life (most likely).  

 

Also, look at how the same judge handled the De Anza College gang rape case.  Also, he attended Stanford just like Turner, sure could be a coincidence, or maybe he was helping out a student at his alma mater.  I would like to think not, but one never really knows.

 

 

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35 minutes ago, TheGreatBuzz said:

I would be interested to know if this department 1, made a recommendation that follows similar cases 2, if the judge in question usually follows the department recommendation and 3, what is the intent of having this department in the first place?  Are judges encouraged to follow their recommendation because they are "neutral" or what?  

 

Those are good questions, I would also be interested how much Cali's push to reduce the prison population was a factor.

 

after all the judge coulda sentenced him to 14 yrs and him be let out in 1.

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That it's still being called the "Stanford Rape Case" when, to my knowledge, the dumb ass didn't rape her is part of the problem.

 

He sexually assaulted her.

 

He should serve prison time.  Several years.

 

But this is kind of ironic. 

1 hour ago, tshile said:

The idea of the public punishing a judge for not meeting the public’s desire in sentencing seems super scary. 

 

Judges should also be held accountable for bull**** like this case. Minimum sentencing guidelines are just that - minimums. 

 

tough line to walk. 

 

They do re-hearings on sentencing all of the time.  I'm not sure I've ever heard or seen a re-hearing on something that makes it WORSE than the original one.  Usually that process is in place to find relief for the convicted (usually the wrongfully convicted) so this is very interesting no matter how you look at it. 

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4 hours ago, Kilmer17 said:

I think I agree with him in theory.  But not in practice.  I agree that Judges shouldn't consider the political winds when ruling, but there also needs to be a system to address failures.

 

 

 

It's a massive problem.  Even at the appeals courts usually cases are affirmed so as not to discredit their pals at the lower courts.  The Supreme Court can only hear so many cases, unfortunately. 

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3 hours ago, bearrock said:

I agree that the punishment doesn't fit the crime.  But that's because of lenient sentencing guidelines and the lack of mandatory minimum for the offenses that Turner was convicted for (which has since been remedied by the legislature).  Is it the judge's role to hand down a sentence that would be much harsher than previously imposed on comparable cases or is it the legislature's job to fix the laws?  

He’s the JUDGE it is his job to judge and utlitmately dispense JUSTICE. Those words have meaning and it goes well beyond “sentencing guidelines” and “mandatory minimums” which were all race based laws to make sure everyone got similar punishments. This judge failed to adjudicate and failed to dispense actual justice. 

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20 minutes ago, Dont Taze Me Bro said:

 

Also, look at how the same judge handled the De Anza College gang rape case.  Also, he attended Stanford just like Turner, sure could be a coincidence, or maybe he was helping out a student at his alma mater.  I would like to think not, but one never really knows.

 

 

 

De Anza is an interesting case.  The allegedly lewd photos within a year of the event to argue against PTSD probably should not have been admitted (fairly prejudicial, really of minimal probative value).  Still, it's something the plaintiff's side should have foreseen and countered with expert testimony on the effect of rape on victims and various manifestations of PTSD.  

 

The fifth amendment issue is a combination of the issue being a bit overblown by Jane Doe's attorney and the peculiarity of CA evidence rules pertaining to invoking the 5th in civil cases.  You can't selectively take the 5th.  If you invoke 5th amendment privilege, you can't testify about things related to that issue.  So while an earlier judge may order that the defendants invoking the 5th can't testify about related matters (a fairly standard ruling), that wouldn't bar Judge Persky from finding that a particular issue is not related to the issue to which 5th amendment was invoked.  If the selective invocation of the 5th was allowed, then the plaintiff would have a bulletproof appeal.

 

Now the twist is that CA does not follow majority rule when it comes to 5th amendment privilege in civil cases.  Most states allow the fact finder to draw adverse inference in civil cases for invoking the 5th amendment. Q: "Did you rape Jane Doe?"  A: "I plea the 5th".  Plaintiff's attorney dancing in the hallway during break.  Prohibition against adverse inference only applies to criminal cases.  Not so in California.  California rule specifically prohibits adverse inference in both civil and criminal cases.  So while most plaintiff's attorneys in civil cases would happily elicit the 5th from a defendant, it's a different ballgame in CA.  But the main point is, if Judge Persky actually allowed selective invocation of the 5th, the De Anza case would have been easily reversed on appeal.  That the plaintiff did not pursue an appeal, as far as I know, probably indicates that at least it was a close call.

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7 hours ago, bearrock said:

 

California rule specifically prohibits adverse inference in both civil and criminal cases.

 

From a defendant you mean....

 

Cause:

 

t720016_07.jpg?quality=90&strip=all&w=61

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1 hour ago, DC9 said:

 

From a defendant you mean....

 

Cause:

 

*pic*

 

Man, we so need a "Fair Enough" reaction:ols:

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I think this kid is a dumbass for asking for a retrial.  He got off with only 3 months served.  He risks another conviction by asking for another trial. 

 

 

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