SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) — Organizers on both sides of the recall mounted against a Santa Clara County judge were intensifying efforts Wednesday, just days before voters are set to go to the polls.
The campaign to recall Judge Aaron Persky held a rally and press conference in San Jose that drew both supporters and one vocal detractor.
The judge gave former Stanford University swimmer Brock Turner a short jail term after Turner was found guilty of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman. The sentence generated global outrage and raised questions about judicial independence and politics in the courtroom. South Bay activists including Stanford Law Professor Michele Dauber.
- Judge Persky Defends Controversial Sexual Assault Sentence Ahead Of Recall
- Poll Shows Effort To Recall Judge Persky Could Be Waning
- AP Exclusive: Facing Recall Judge Aaron Persky Has No Regrets
- Judge Persky Breaks Silence On Upcoming Recall Vote
Persky has been fighting hard to keep his job, publically campaigning against what seemed like a growing effort to recall him.
The rally turned heated as a man opposed to the recall interrupted speakers and questioned the reasoning behind the push to recall Persky.
“Why does a judge who is following probation recommendation deserve a recall?” the man, identified by other media as recall opponent Steve White, asked after Dauber started addressing the gathered media.
The man continued to talk as the crowd of recall supporters chanted over his claims, shouting “Hey hey! Ho ho! Aaron Persky has got to go!”
White, who was holding a sign that read “EMILY DOEBER LIED” continued to speak, making claims that Dauber helped the assault victim write her victim-impact statement.
The man interrupted the rally again as San Jose Vice Mayor Magdalena Carrasco began to speak, but this time was told by a San Jose police officer to step away from the podium. The man continued to try to speak over Carrasco before finally leaving the area.
Despite the interruptions, the Recall Persky rally continued.
“We need people to make sure that people vote. We want to make sure that turnout is high,” Dauber told KPIX 5.
Dauber also called out Jim McManis, a San Jose lawyer who is helping lead opposition against the recall effort. McManis claimed in a recent magazine interview that the victim was not attacked.
“These comments have reached a new low with the comments of Jim McManis. And Judge Persky has remained silent for a week and has failed to disavow or dissociate himself from those comments,” said Dauber.
Later, a rally against the recall was crashed by recall supporters. The two sides jostled to place signs in front of each other.
Persky spoke briefly at the rally in his support.
“I can’t comment on the cases in any way, shape or form. We have a First Amendment; we have people speaking out. I speak for myself,” said the embattled Superior Court Judge.
Persky said that standing in front of a row of judges and the Santa Clara County District Attorney who support him and the no recall campaign.
“Someday you might be on the right side of the law and the wrong side of public opinion. And when you step in front of a judge in a courtroom, you will expect, you will demand a judge who will follow the rule of law,” said Persky.
If Judge Persky survives the recall, he would next be up for re-election when his term ends in 2022. If he is recalled, he would be the first judge to be recalled in California in 86 years.