“I want the judge to know that he ignited a tiny fire.”

In a powerful letter that went viral last June, the Stanford Survivor known only as Emily Doe courageously addressed Brock Turner, the young man who dragged her behind a dumpster and sexually assaulted her while she was unconscious.

Judge Persky listened to Emily's impassioned cry for justice – then he sentenced Turner to only six months in county jail. Prosecutors asked that Brock Turner be sentenced to six years in prison. The minimum sentence for his crimes was two years and he could have faced a maximum of 14 years.

Judge Persky made a special exception for an elite athlete at a top university. Persky reasoned that a longer sentence would have a "severe impact" on Turner. On top of it all, Turner was released early on good behavior after serving only three months of his sentence.

With her compelling words, Emily did more than ignite a tiny fire – she sparked an entire movement to recall Judge Persky and sent the message that survivors deserve better.

This is not an isolated incident for Judge Persky – he has a disturbing history of shielding offenders of domestic and sexual violence from justice – and was recently re-elected to a new six-year term because he ran unopposed in the last election.

We need judges who understand violence against women and take it seriously.

On June 26, 2017 Santa Clara County leaders filed the official Notice of Intent to begin collecting signatures to recall Judge Aaron Persky. Our petition was approved by the county and we began collecting signatures! 

Then, in a last-ditch effort to stop the recall campaign, Judge Persky filed a frivolous lawsuit to avoid the democratic process.

The California Constitution grants the voters the power to recall a judge. We meticulously followed the law to craft our petition and it was approved by the county registrar office. Even the California Secretary of State and Attorney General advocated for our recall effort in court and we prevailed!

Judge Persky’s attempt to derail our campaign and stifle our First Amendment rights is just another reason he needs to be recalled.

The recall campaign collected nearly 100,000 signatures and now the voters will have a choice to recall and replace Judge Persky on the June 5, 2018 ballot.

This is one of the largest county-wide ballot initiatives in Santa Clara County history -- even more, it's rare for a judge to be placed on a ballot to be recalled in the history of California and the nation.

We are confident this is a battle we can win and that it will have an impact not just in Santa Clara County, but across the country.

The recall won’t be easy, but survivors like Emily Doe deserve our help in their fight for justice.

Learn more at recallaaronperksy.com.

Paid for by the Committee to Recall Judge Persky FPPC #1386601

Who paid for this ad?


Show your support for this campaign by endorsing it and sharing why!

  • endorsed

    “This Judge did not uphold justice. Judges that abuse their discretion to protect rapists instead of victims are not fit to sit on the bench.”

  • endorsed

    “Men have been getting off on rape charges with just a rap on the knuckles for too long. Enough is enough!”

  • endorsed

    “Brock Turner got away with rape.”

  • endorsed

    “Make no mistake about it. The judge had one thing in mind when he chose to protect Brock Turner from prison. That one thing is RAPE. The rape of a MALE in a vulnerable situation the Judge could comprehend as wrong. But for women who are facing the same attack in the City he presides over, he does not see as worthy of the same protection. There is one remarkable difference in this case than all the previous cases of attack that came before. There were 2 male eye witnesses in this case. When you realize that Judge Persky still chose to protect Brock from prison, when there was no room to give him the benefit of the doubt, there was no doubt, there was no question it happened, it was observed by people who rescued her and remained on the scene, that proves Judge Persky is sexist and does not feel women's lives deserve the equal protection under the law.”

  • endorsed

    “Brock Turner needs to pay for his crimes and that Judge Persky needs to He is not a fair judge. He has no empathy for women whatsoever.”

  • endorsed

    “Any judge or person in a higher position (district attorney in my case) who doesn't take RAPE or any form of assault/abuse seriously has clearly no sense of morality and extremely POOR JUDGEMENT. He's abusing his power as many in our judicial system do way too often (sadly). Not only are these rapists destroying lives, but these corrupt so-called "judges" are destroying lives as well and putting others in danger. THERE IS NO EXCUSE FOR RAPE. Put them BOTH in prison.”

  • endorsed

    “Enough is enough! This madness must end!”

  • endorsed

    “Enough is Enough!”

  • endorsed

    “Because of my experiences at Dartmouth and my four young daughters”

  • endorsed

    “Rape is assault but worse in its consequences for the innocent victim. The mental and bodily trauma will never go away. That's a lifetime sentence. Laws must fit the crime. Rapists must be sentenced to a minimum of a year with absolutely no probation.”

September 14, 2016

Stanford alum and father of sexual assault survivor joins efforts to recall Judge Persky

Joe McCarthy, a Stanford alumni, donated on behalf of his daughter, a sexual assault survivor in order to help call attention to the serious problem of sexual assault on the Stanford campus and elsewhere. He states:

"Brock Turner’s actions were inexcusable. Yet he insists on hiding behind excuses rather than accepting responsibility for his actions. His assault, victim blaming, and lack of personal accountability were all wrong. But he’s part of a larger issue.

Judge Persky is certainly mistaken in his view that privileged individuals (e.g. fellow Stanford athletes) should not be held fully accountable for their acts. While I believe that judges should have leeway in their decisions, I also believe there should be consequences for misuse of that power. A recall is the most appropriate consequence. The lenient sentence, and his attempts to justify it, was wrong. But he’s part of a larger issue.

This case itself was the symptom of a larger and systemic problem that exists at Stanford, at other campuses, and throughout society. I sincerely hope that my alma mater addresses head-on the attitude of sexual assault rather than being misled into treating it as an alcohol consumption issue. Athletes, fraternity members, and all students must understand what consent is and is not. Right now, Stanford is part of the larger issue.

Whether privileged or not, drunk or sober, we need to understand: Only an informed and enthusiastic “yes” is consent. Fear, inebriation, or unconsciousness are not. Sexual assault should be punished, with no excuses and no leniency, so that the consequences associated with it pave the way to justice for survivors and would-be perpetrators are put on notice.

If we make excuses like Brock, if we accept lenient sentences like Judge Persky’s, if we don’t hold people accountable for their actions, if we don’t discard the idea that sexual assault and rape are the survivor’s fault or alcohol’s fault or simply a by-product of modern society, if we don’t follow the example of the Swedish grad students and intervene, if we don’t teach our sons about consent and respect, if we don’t speak out loud and clear against sexual assault... then we, too, are part of the larger issue.

We owe it to the survivor in this case and survivors everywhere: We must step up and be part of the larger solution.”

Please continue to share our campaign with your friends, families, and networks. We must all choose to be a part of the larger solution.

Back to all updates

Show your support for this campaign by endorsing it and sharing why!

  • endorsed

  • endorsed

    “This Judge did not uphold justice. Judges that abuse their discretion to protect rapists instead of victims are not fit to sit on the bench.”

  • endorsed

  • endorsed

    “Men have been getting off on rape charges with just a rap on the knuckles for too long. Enough is enough!”

  • endorsed

  • endorsed

    “Brock Turner got away with rape.”

  • endorsed

    “Make no mistake about it. The judge had one thing in mind when he chose to protect Brock Turner from prison. That one thing is RAPE. The rape of a MALE in a vulnerable situation the Judge could comprehend as wrong. But for women who are facing the same attack in the City he presides over, he does not see as worthy of the same protection. There is one remarkable difference in this case than all the previous cases of attack that came before. There were 2 male eye witnesses in this case. When you realize that Judge Persky still chose to protect Brock from prison, when there was no room to give him the benefit of the doubt, there was no doubt, there was no question it happened, it was observed by people who rescued her and remained on the scene, that proves Judge Persky is sexist and does not feel women's lives deserve the equal protection under the law.”

  • endorsed

  • endorsed

    “Brock Turner needs to pay for his crimes and that Judge Persky needs to He is not a fair judge. He has no empathy for women whatsoever.”

  • endorsed

  • endorsed

  • endorsed

  • endorsed

    “Any judge or person in a higher position (district attorney in my case) who doesn't take RAPE or any form of assault/abuse seriously has clearly no sense of morality and extremely POOR JUDGEMENT. He's abusing his power as many in our judicial system do way too often (sadly). Not only are these rapists destroying lives, but these corrupt so-called "judges" are destroying lives as well and putting others in danger. THERE IS NO EXCUSE FOR RAPE. Put them BOTH in prison.”

  • endorsed

    “Enough is enough! This madness must end!”

  • endorsed

  • endorsed

    “Enough is Enough!”

  • endorsed

    “Because of my experiences at Dartmouth and my four young daughters”

  • endorsed

    “Rape is assault but worse in its consequences for the innocent victim. The mental and bodily trauma will never go away. That's a lifetime sentence. Laws must fit the crime. Rapists must be sentenced to a minimum of a year with absolutely no probation.”

  • endorsed