SAN JOSE (KRON) — A group of protesters chanting, “Impeach Judge Persky,” gathered in front of the Santa Clara Superior Courthouse in San Jose on Monday afternoon.
Aaron Persky is the judge who handed down a six-month sentence to the former Stanford swimmer convicted of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman.
KRON’s Maureen Kelly talked with the woman behind this petition drive, which garnered more than 1 million signatures.
“We are asking that the California State Assembly to please hold impeachment hearings for Judge Aaron Persky,” Maria Ruiz said.
A small group of protestors angry over what they believed to be the light sentence handed down to Brock Turner brought a large number of signatures to the Santa Clara Superior Courthouse in downtown San Jose. The boxes were empty, merely symbolic of the 1.2 million signatures they said they have collected on the online petition website change.org.
“So heartbreaking, so gutwrenching,” Ruiz said.
Ruiz was the one behind this petition drive, coming all the way from Florida to demand that California legislators take action to remove a judge from the bench that she believes is biased.
“It seems like he does feel that affluent people will be less violent, but your education, your affluence, none of that makes you less violent if you’re a rapist,” Ruiz said.
In addition to carrying signs like one reading, “Punish white rapists,” protesters wore shirts with Turner’s mugshot in order to get their message across.
“We need to let this world know that just because you come from the dominant group and come from elitist institutions, that this is absolutely unacceptable,” Rosemarie Ramirez said.
This petition drive is separate from another which delivered over 1 million signatures to the State Commission on Judicial Performance to remove Persky from the bench.
There is also a movement to recall the jurors from the bench at the Palo Alto Courthouse.
But this petition also up on change.org is in support of Judge Persky with only a few hundred signatures, mostly coming from public defenders who said the other side is sending the wrong message.
“Each individual offender to be analyzed for who they are, what crime they committed, and what sentence is most appropriate for them, rather than using a one sized fits all approach,” Santa Clara County Public Defender Sajid Kahn said.
Turner is expected to be released just a little over one month from Monday on Sept 2.
He was sentenced to six months in jail, but with good behavior credits, which are standard, he’ll have served only three months.