Judge in Brock Turner Rape Case Compares 6-Month Sentencing to 'Unpopularity' of School Desegregation

Brock Turner
Brock Turner
Image: AP

Long after serving three unbearable steak-less months of a controversial six-month sentence in 2016 for sexually assaulting a woman behind a dumpster while she was unconscious, Brock Turner’s name is back in the news. This time, it’s because of the judge in his infamous case, Aaron Persky. At a press conference in Palo Alto, CA on Tuesday, Persky compared the lenient six-month ruling to the Supreme Court decision that made racial segregation in schools illegal. He addressed the audience, via BuzzFeed:

“Brown vs Board of Education was unpopular in many states. Imagine for a moment if those federal judges had been faced with judicial recall in the face of that unpopularity. We ask judges to follow the rule of law, not the rule of public opinion.”


Persky is currently awaiting a June 5 recall vote in a retaliation effort, led by Stanford Law School Professor Michele Dauber, who believes the judge has held “a long pattern of bias in favor of privileged men.”

She told BuzzFeed the Brown comparison is “absurd,” adding:

“Persky has repeatedly abused his discretion on behalf of abusers. As a result, voters in this county have lost confidence in his ability to be fair...In Brown, the Supreme Court bravely ruled with the powerless against the powerful. In Brock Turner’s case, Persky did the exact opposite.”

After Turner’s conviction in September 2016, California lawmakers passed two bills to amend the loophole that caused his sentence to be so lax. The Assembly Bill 2888, which, according to the Los Angeles Times, “prohibits a judge from handing a convicted offender probation in certain sex crimes such as rape, sodomy and forced oral copulation when the victim is unconscious or prevented from resisting by any intoxicating, anesthetic or controlled substance,” and the Assembly Bill 701, which expands the legal definition of rape in California law to include all forms of nonconsensual sexual assault.

In the same month, Turner became the textbook definition of “rape” in criminal justice classes.

Correction: A previous version of this post described Turner’s victim as a “fellow Stanford student.” She was not.

URL: Senior Writer, Jezebel. IRL: Author of the very good book 'LARGER THAN LIFE: A History of Boy Bands from NKOTB to BTS,' out now.