In 2016, Stanford student and swimmer Brock Turner was convicted of three charges of felony sexual assault after he assaulted a woman, who was referred to as Emily Doe. At the time of the assault, Doe was unconscious.
Turner's convictions carried a potential sentence of 14 years in prison. Prosecutors recommended six years in prison. Probation officials recommended a "moderate" county jail sentence.
Judge Aaron Persky's sentence was less than anyone could have expected. Turner was sentenced to six months confinement in the Santa Clara County jail to be followed by three years of probation. He served only 3 months of that sentence.
After Turner's lenient sentencing, there was public uproar. The displeasure increased after Turner served only three months, leading California to pass two bills that would change state law on sexual assault. One extended the definition of rape and the other provided a mandatory minimum three-year prison sentence for sexual assault on an unconscious or intoxicated person.
Now, a petition to recall the judge who sentenced Turner has received enough valid signatures to proceed to the ballot, reported ABC News. The Santa Clara County Superior Court issued a statement on the matter.
“After conducting a random sampling of the 94,539 signatures submitted by a campaign to recall Judge Aaron Persky from the Santa Clara County Superior Court, the Registrar of Voters (ROV) found a sufficient number of them to be valid,” reads the statement.
The results were certified on Tuesday. The Santa Clara Board of Supervisors will add the case to the statewide primary election ballot in June; then voters will decide whether to remove Persky.
"The recall vote will be accompanied by a contest to decide who will replace Judge Persky if he is removed from office," according to Santa Clara County ROV.
Recall advocates have said accorded that Persky has a history of leniency toward offenders who were college athletes. They also cited as evidence the fact that Persky was a former lacrosse player at Stanford.
In sentencing Turner, he said, "A prison sentence would have a severe impact on him. ... I think he will not be a danger to others."
Persky’s attorney, Elizabeth Pipkin, said in a statement, "Our firm has always been committed to protecting the law—the civil rights of all within our community and country. The recall effort does not comply with the California Constitution. It's unlawful, and in defending the Constitution and the independence of judges, we are protecting the rights of all citizens."
Turner is currently appealing his conviction.