Controversial judge’s noncontroversial decision sparks controversy

Judge Aaron Persky sparked controversy earlier this year when he sentenced former swimmer Brock Turner to six months in jail for sexually assaulting an unconscious woman. The world-wide reaction to the decision was shift: people expressed outrage over the weak sentence, demanded changes to the law, and started a petition to have Perksy removed from the bench.

The message to Persky was clear: do not give out a weak sentence again.

Persky seemed to get the message. Persky is set to give a man who admitted to assault his female roommate year years in jail. And yet this too prompted outrage, specifically because the man in question is receiving a harsher sentence:

However, critics say that while Turner’s case prompted Mr Persky to make an exception, the judge showed no willingness to negotiate with [Raul] Ramirez to reduce his sentence.

Legally, it does not appear he can. The article notes that because Ramirez plead guilty to sexual penetration by force Persky is bound by law to issue a minimum sentence of three years. More so, California law carries harsher penalties for those who assault a conscious versus unconscious victim. One can argue that this is unfair, and it is on a moral and ethical level. However, to argue that Persky engaged in some double standard by sentencing Ramirez to three years is fallacious.

According to the information I could find, Persky has no history of handing out soft sentences. The evidence appears to be the contrary: he is known for his tough sentences. This raises a question as to why he ruled differently in Turner’s case compared to his previous rulings. Yet there is little mystery why he would rule in a tough manner now. Given the level of backlash he received, even if a case did warrant a lesser sentence Persky might not give it to avoid any further accusations of poor judgment.

His critics, however, do not appear interested in the nuances of law or Persky’s position:

Professor Michele Landis Dauber of Stanford University, who is leading the recall said: “This just shows that our concern about Judge Persky’s ability to be unbiased is justified. We continue to think that he abused his discretion in giving an unduly lenient sentence to Turner.”

Technically he did not abuse his discretion. According to California law, a judge is allowed to issue a sentence varying from probation to the maximum years, which in Turner’s case would have been 20 years. The six month sentence, of which Turner will likely only serve half, is an incredibly weak sentence for his crime. None of the factors of the case seem to warrant anything less than several years in jail, yet California law allows Persky to issue such a sentence.

If Persky had a history of letting people from wealthy families or his Alma-mater off with soft sentences one could argue that he has an issue with being biased. The evidence suggests otherwise, so it is rather odd to attack him as engaging in a double standard. It is more bizarre, however, to cry foul over Persky issuing an apparently fair sentence because in the previous case he failed to do so. At this point, the complaint is that he essentially did the right thing.

Is that the argument people truly wish to make?

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7 thoughts on “Controversial judge’s noncontroversial decision sparks controversy

  1. Pingback: Controversial judge’s noncontroversial decision sparks controversy – Manosphere.org

  2. Two words, words that you’ve used often in the last few months: Cognitive. Dissonance. It isn’t about history, it’s about now. Unless they pay attention because they genuinely care, the average person can’t tell you any of the details about the last outrage. It’s only THIS outrage. I imagine the majority of people protesting this decision genuinely believe what they’re saying, but in two weeks won’t even remember the circumstances except in a vague sort of way.

    Cognitive. Dissonance.

  3. He was in a “damned if you do, damned it you don’t” scenario. Give a light sentence and the criticism from before continues. Give a heavier sentence, and he looks racist. Having said that, Turner’s sentence should have been much stiffer – this is a conundrum of Persky’s own making.

  4. And it never occurs to EITHER of you to question WHY the parole board issued their opinion about Turner – why Perskey, known as tough but fair – would go along with it.
    Just remember, despite the screaming h eadlines, the guy was not convicted of rape.
    The guy is also appealing his sentence.

    Sometimes there is alot more to these things than meets the eye – or the sensationalistic biased, press.

    And yes, I’m accusing the press in general of being biased against anyone accused of certain crimes. Sexual assault is a big one. Almost never are court documents examined. If you read hundreds of these stories you will find that WHEN THEY ARE – it’s almost always the court records/statements of the Prosecution.

    Add to that the long-standing practice of protecting accusers identities that most of the press (on and offline) follows slavishly (even after acquittal most publications STILL will not publish names. Hell, few publish retractions for moralizing editorials at the accused’s expense or biased articles) and it begins to look like these are our modern day lynchings.

    I don’t know if Turner was guilty or not. But the vast majority of the narrative WE have heard has come from the feminist /progressive and prosecution side. They’ve put their spin on things. I haven’t read the court documents – not even Turners fathers note (the one supposedly referring to the sexual activity as ‘action’ – I’ve heard one person say that in context he really says “an action for which” – a totally different meaning, IF TRUE then that changes things from the supposedly entitled father trying to protect his rapist son , to just a parent trying to put in a good word for a guilty boy.

    It should be possible to admit that maybe Turner’s sentence is the right one. We don’t know how shaky the evidence is, what all the mitigating factors were, etc. Let’s say if the Judge made what appears to be (from all the Prosecutors and Defense attorneys singing his praises) an error of judgement, he’s certainly suffered for it. All the worse for us if most of us, on hearing the stuff we haven’t HEARD ,would have done the same thing or something nearly similar.

  5. Clarence:

    And it never occurs to EITHER of you to question WHY the parole board issued their opinion about Turner – why Perskey, known as tough but fair – would go along with it. Just remember, despite the screaming h eadlines, the guy was not convicted of rape.

    I noted that in my post. Turner was convicted of sexual assault against an intoxicated person. I do not, however, see why that would justify a six month sentence.

    I don’t know if Turner was guilty or not. But the vast majority of the narrative WE have heard has come from the feminist /progressive and prosecution side.

    I did not listen to their narrative. I looked at the facts of the case, particularly that Turner had to be pulled off the woman. The facts of the case suggest a tougher sentence. I think six years would be fair, but to ensure he served it one would need to ask for ten years. That would cover his good behavior.

    Let’s say if the Judge made what appears to be (from all the Prosecutors and Defense attorneys singing his praises) an error of judgement, he’s certainly suffered for it.

    I found the response to the judge ridiculous. It has gone as far as to have some jurors refuse to serve on a jury in a case he presided over. As far as we can tell, this case is the one aberration. What reason does anyone have to assume that he will do it again given the intense backlash? That is part of the reason I wrote the post. He clearly did not make the same decision, yet they attacked him for it anyway.

  6. Um, no.
    He did not have to ‘be pulled off the woman’.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/People_v._Turner

    You were the first person I’ve ever heard say that. Which leads me to believe you have this case mixed up with another.

    As to your assertion this was an ‘aberration’: not according to the Santa Clara County Bar Association : “In the immediate aftermath of the case, widespread public criticism emerged, accusing Judge Persky of judicial bias in favor of male and class privilege,[21] leading to campaigns for his recall or resignation. The Santa Clara County Bar Association and public defenders defended Persky, noting that the sentence was based upon the probation report as well as being consistent with similar cases, and stated that his removal would be a “threat to judicial independence”.[22][23]”

    Like I said, while I haven’t researched this case like I did the Duke Lax Case, the Jovanovic (the mid 90’s famous cyber stalker case) case, the current Jameis Winston accusation, or the Trayvon Martin shooting (in all of these I’ve read the court documents either in full, or hundreds of pages worth and often followed them daily or nearly daily for a few months at a time as well as going to the my favorite legal left and rightwing sites), I have read about a dozen articles altogether (including Cathy Young of course) and my “narrative alert” radar went off the scale.

    I’m sure there is more to this then we have been told. I note the Wikipedia entry, while it seems fairly comprehensive on a first read, does not mention the social media interactions between Turner and the alleged victim prior to the night in question. These two knew each other and were on friendly terms. You’d be surprised the number of people who think Turner violated a strange drunk girl with pine needles…

  7. Clarence, I have not confused the Turner case with a different case. I heard that the two men pulled Turner off the woman in a news report. Upon reviewing the men’s statements it appears that they approached him and he ran off. That was my mistake.

    I agree that the media spun this case very well. However, when looking at the facts of the case as presented to the court, I cannot see why the assault should have a different legal standard when the victim is conscious versus unconscious. It should be the nature of the assault itself — the violence committed, the intent, the behavior following the assault — that should dictate the type of potential sentence a person should receive.

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