PALO ALTO (CBS SF) — The public outrage over a judge’s decision to give a former Stanford student a six-month jail sentence for felony sex assault continued to grow Monday.
Santa Clara County Judge Aaron Persky is taking a lot of heat for sentencing former Stanford swimmer Brock Turner to only six months in the county jail last Friday.
A jury found Turner guilty of sexually assaulting a woman after a fraternity party back in March.
While Persky is running unopposed in Tuesday’s election and is guaranteed another six years on the bench, the light sentence for Turner has made him a target.
More than a 100,000 people have signed an online petition demanding he be recalled.
“It’s not unusual for people to be either happy or unhappy with a judge’s decision. In fact, in most cases half the people are unhappy with what the judge has decided,” said KPIX 5 legal analyst LaDoris Cordell. “No judge should ever make a decision geared towards winning public approval.”
The social media firestorm was initially sparked by the release of the letter the victim read to the court before Turner received his sentence.
“Her voice is finally being heard. But it was the fact that there was such a light sentence that really ignited this movement,” said lead prosecutor Alaleh Kianerci
Turner’s father also provoked outrage with a letter arguing his son should just receive probation. Dan A. Turner told the judge in the letter that his son’s life has “been deeply altered forever” and called the sentence “a steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action out of his 20 plus years of life.”
The father later back-tracked a bit, saying his words were taken out of context and that he didn’t mean “action” as “sexual activity.”
The backlash has been blistering. The court of public opinion outraged with their anger amplified and spread on social media.
One blogger even promised Brock Turner, “We are going to put you in a new kind of jail…splatter your name and face across social media” and make sure the world knows he is “not a good guy.”
Turner is not without his supporters.
A since deleted Facebook page claimed the true lesson of the case was about “promiscuity and binge drinking.”
While the victim’s story has reached millions, she has chosen to remain anonymous. She did release a new statement through the DA’s office on Monday that read in part, “…all of these people are fighting for someone they don’t know. That’s the beauty of it. I don’t need labels or categories to prove I am worthy of respect — to prove I should be listened to.”
Turner has started serving his sentence at the county jail.