The Stanford Rape Case Judge Was Removed From Another Sexual Assault Case, But He’s Still Not Out Of A Job

We may be getting somewhere, folks. On Tuesday, Santa Clara District Attorney Jeff Rosen filed a complaint against Judge Aaron Persky — and it worked. The now-notorious Stanford rape trial judge was removed from hearing a sexual battery case in which a nurse is accused of touching a sedated patient’s genitals and breasts at a hospital. OK, I take it back. We’re not getting anywhere, because that’s fucking disgusting too, but at least Judge Persky won’t be the one to decide the defendant’s fate.

Following the light sentencing of Brock Turner for raping a woman behind a dumpster, many protested Judge Persky for his ruling. Online petitions were set up, letter writing campaigns took off, and people just straight up protested in the streets about recalling his elected seat. At the Stanford University commencement this weekend, an airplane flew over ahead with a banner that said, “Persky Must Go.

It’s not easy to get a judge removed overall, but it looks like it’s easier to remove them from specific cases. District Attorney Rosen drew some parallels between the Brock Turner rape case and this new one, in which the victim was extremely vulnerable and assaulted. Turner’s victim was unconscious because of alcohol poisoning, and this patient was lightly sedated: there was no way to consent in either case. Rosen made the argument that there were too many similarities for Persky to remain neutral.

Last week, Persky just randomly threw out a totally unrelated misdemeanor case before it could even go to trial. It looks like Persky is under a lot of stress these days (and he should be, because he sentenced a rapist to just six months in county jail, but I digress). Rosen said, “We are disappointed and puzzled at Judge Persky’s unusual decision to unilaterally dismiss a case before the jury could deliberate.” Rosen added that he didn’t think Persky could “fairly participate” in a trial for the sexual assault case in question.

This is just one case, and it’s not the complete unseating of the judge that many — well, millions — have petitioned for. There are also letter writing events across the country to oust Persky from his elected Santa Clara judgeship. Recalling his seat is pretty fucking complicated, and the Change.org petition is a nice way to show that people want him out, but it’s not the most effective way to have Persky’s job. I mean, there are little things you have to do in order to recall an elected official, like making sure the petition has a one-inch top margin and other tiny details that are written into the process almost specifically intended to make someone throw up their hands and go “oh, what the hell.”

I’m not trying to say that petitions and letter writing won’t work to eventually get his seat, because he absolutely should be removed. But, it seems like removing him from specific cases, questioning his judgement on a case by case basis like the Santa Clara DA seemingly intends to do, will at least fuck with him. It’s pretty torturous — imagine knowing your supervisors hate you, but they won’t fire you because they can’t, and they just don’t let you do anything. That’s a mind fuck and a half. (Not as torturous as knowing your rapist will only be behind bars for a few months, but you get the picture).

It’s already happening. Last week, jurors on a new case were asked to be removed because they couldn’t look Persky in the face. “I can’t believe what you did,” one said as they excused themselves (talk about a quick way out of jury duty).

I think if we want to fuck with Persky, Rosen is our guy. “In the future, we will evaluate each case on its own merits and decide if we should use our legal right to ask for another judge in order to protect public safety and pursue justice,” he said in a prepared statement. Persky is running unopposed in November’s election. To get him out, maybe screw the Change.org petition — when have you ever seen a petition actually work? My brother and I used to petition for new goldfish for our aquarium and they certainly didn’t work — and start mobilizing Santa Clara voters to write in a candidate this November to prevent Persky from keeping his job. OK, first they have to find one, but it could work.

Judge Persky needs to be removed from the bench for treating felony rape cases like the least important crime imaginable, but keeping him far, far away from other sexual assault cases is a good start. Let’s finish the job now.