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California votes to recall judge in Brock Turner case

A shot of the Stanford University campus. Photo: David Madison/Getty Images

California voters recalled Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky Tuesday night, reports the New York Times. It's the first time a California judge has been recalled in 80 years.

The backdrop: In March 2016, Stanford student Brock Turner was found guilty by a jury on three felony sexual assault charges after he assaulted an unconscious woman after a fraternity party. Turner was eligible for up to 14 years in prison, but Persky sentenced him to only 6 months, stating Turner would “not be a danger to others” and that “a prison sentence would have a severe impact” on him.

How it happened: A petition to recall Turner — started by Michele Dauber, a Stanford law professor whose daughter is friends with the woman Turner assaulted — earned enough signatures to make Persky's recall a ballot question. Other supporters of the recall were Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Anita Hill.

  • In 2016, after Turner's sentencing, Persky was cleared of any official misconduct over his sentencing decision by a state agency.
  • Turner's decision also prompted California to enact a law that created minimum sentences for sexual assault cases — and closed a loophole that treated the cases of sexual assault victims who were unconscious or intoxicated differently.
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