The judge who presided over Stanford swimmer Brock Turner’s rape case is defending his short sentence a week before California voters will decide if he will be fired or not.
Judge Aaron Persky did an interview with CBS that aired Tuesday morning.
Persky defended his sentence, saying, “If a judge is thinking in the back of his or her mind how is this going to look? How will it look on social media? Will I be vilified on cable news? That’s the wrong avenue. We can’t do that. We shouldn’t do that.”
Persky added that as a judge, there will always be a disappointed party following a ruling.
“When we make a decision in a civil or criminal case, we’re always disappointing one side or the other. And so if one side or the other that’s disappointed is able to generate outrage, get it out there on social media, raise a lot of money based on one decision, it’s just – it’s just not right,” Persky said.
The California judge is currently facing a large campaign to ouster him from his position as a judge due to his ruling over the Turner rape case, in which Persky gave Turner only six months in jail and three years probation. Turner was released three months early, effectively serving only three months in jail, but was mandated to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.
Turner’s victim told him during the trial, “You took away my worth, my privacy … my confidence” and “I don’t want my body anymore. I was terrified of it.”
The message was widely shared on social media platforms.
Persky says he accepts the responsibility for every case, but it should not affect future cases. “What I cannot accept are the downstream consequences,” Persky said, “the collateral damage, if you will, to the next case, to the next judge’s decision, to even the next juror’s decision. I mean this notion, the power of social media, the power of politics, if it affects jurors then where are we? We’ve completely corrupted our system.”
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