Local prosecutors in California successfully moved to remove Aaron Persky, the Santa Clara Superior Court judge, from a sexual-assault case Tuesday, citing his lenient sentencing of Brock Turner, the former Stanford student convicted of sexual assault, as a cause for concern.
The Santa Clara District Attorney’s office told reporters it was also “disappointed and puzzled” by Persky’s dismissal of a misdemeanor mail-theft case on Monday after the prosecution presented its case. According to the Mercury News in San Jose, Persky granted the motion to dismiss because the alleged thefts weren’t recent enough; prosecutors argued he misunderstood the case law he cited.
The removal adds to the growing fallout from the Stanford rape case, which ignited a national debate earlier this month over sexual assault and the criminal-justice system.
Persky was widely criticized for his role in the trial and sentencing of Turner, a former Stanford University student convicted of three felony counts of sexual assault in March for raping an unconscious woman on campus in 2015. During the sentencing phase earlier this month, Turner’s 23-year-old victim read a searing 12-page letter to her attacker in the courtroom that garnered international attention after it was published online by Buzzfeed.