People vs. Position

In the old days a man like Judge Aaron Persky was virtually impervious to opposition. First, there would have been nearly none. Second, such opposition as there was, would have been muted. People simply did not take on a sitting judge – it just wasn’t done.

Now things are different.  Now Judge Persky of Santa Clara (CA) Superior Court has discovered that someone in his position is no longer immune to opposition.  No longer immune even to humiliation for a decision which many have found as offensive as objectionable.

Setting aside the question of whether or not the sentencing of Stanford student Brock Turner to what is effectively three-months in jail for a sexual assault was fair, what’s remarkable about this case is the widespread refusal to take the court’s decision sitting down. Here’s some of what happened since Judge Persky rendered his sentence:

  • The victim released a long, powerful statement to BuzzFeed, which since has been read online millions of times.
  • A petition was drafted to remove Judge Persky from the bench – which so far has almost a million and a half supporters.
  • At least twelve jurors have openly objected to serving in his courtroom.
  • Judge Persky was removed from presiding over a case involving a male nurse accused of inappropriately touching a sedated female patient.
  • A Stanford Law Professor, Michele Dauber, has organized a campaign to remove him from office.

Whatever his final fate, it’s clear that the judge was not even remotely prepared for what hit him. His failure to consider the consequence of context did him in.


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