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Campaign Launched to Remove Judge in Controversial Stanford Rape Case


Campaign Launched to Remove Judge in Controversial Stanford Rape Case

Nadia Prupis, staff writer

A recall campaign has been launched against a California judge who last week sentenced a Stanford University student to just six months in jail for sexual assault.

Stanford law professor Michele Landis Dauber will lead the campaign against Santa Clara County Judge Aaron Persky, also a Stanford alum, who on Thursday declined to give defendant Brock Turner a longer sentence because prison would have a "severe impact" on him. Turner faced 14 years.


Wow. The victim's statement brought tears to my eyes. Recommend, but with trigger warning.

Maybe all colleges should have a required rape literacy course for all students in their first term. They could include this victim's statement as required reading.


For a study in contrast from the heartfelt and moving victim's statement, here's the obtuse and tone-deaf letter from the assailant's father:

[Edit to add:] It turns out that was an extended excerpt from the letter, not the full letter--which can be seen here:


Sometimes, seeing a passage out of context can give a false impression about the nature of that passage. I don't think this is one of those times.


This a heart wrenching account from a very courageous young lady. I can only hope she gets all through this as whole as she possibly can. It rare that impact statements of such depth appear alongside such articles. This statement should be prescribed reading as suggested by minecritter.


My heart goes out this young lady after reading her victim statement. If I was her brother, father, boyfriend, I would be planning swift justice not only for the cowardly perpetrator but the heartless attorney and parole officer. I can't fathom for the life of me how these snakes that we call attorneys sleep at night with any sense of conscience. I wonder how this all would have gone down if it was the judges daughter.
As for the prison term, it is only adding insult to injury. This pathetic excuse for a man, let alone a human being, should be thrown into general prison population in a medium to high-end security prison and be made to share Bubba's cell for those six months... instead, I am quite sure he will be enjoying his holiday in a country club prison environment.
I teach English in China to students who long to attend North American universities. This is will definitely become a week long lesson and discussion plan so that they understand the true nature of some college life and how they could protect themselves from excrement like this poor, little boy who made a "little" mistake as his father contends. I wonder how proud his mother is now of her perfect son! The father should be ashamed of himself and should be spat on by everyone in his community, not be served in public and receive the same 20 minutes treatment his son gave to this young lady. Maybe then he will understand what 20 minutes of hell is!!! Shame on the judge, shame on the parole office and shame on the US judicial system of justice... I hope they throw this idiot of a judge under the bus!


I am not sure if this has precedence, but it seems like a first hand account like this from a victim must be mandatory reading for all teenage boys, with role playing and accountability.

My heart was falling apart as I read this, and I am dealing my daughter's abuse at the hands of her mother.

I have to re read the letter again in a measured way so as to totally digest it. The clarity is striking in its adversity.




Lesson learned:

If you ever interrupt a rapist, don't call the cops. Beat them into an unrecognizable pulp, then call the cops anonymously.

No trial, no horseshit 6 month sentence.



Dad wants his son to school other kids about the perils of binge drinking and sexual promiscuity.

Who's going to school Dad on the perils to Society when he releases a kid, that he has raised, into it with no discernible sense of Empathy?


He appears to already be working on revenge in that twisted self-entitled brain.


My 64 year old heart breaks every time I hear or read about another woman being raped. I am a woman who has been aware of rape since high school and especially in college. Rape is violence and assault. Women have worked hard to educate other women about rape. Until men stand up and defend their mothers, sisters, and any woman in their lives; and until men stop excusing this behavior because of drinking or otherwise. Men must enlighten themselves about violence against women and what it means.


[Non-believer wrote:]
"Are we sure we are just looking at the deterrent angle or do progressives go in for outright revenge?"

I think this is an important question--which is why I'm addressing it as a root-level comment rather than a personal response.

I don't think this is about revenge. If the woman in this case had seized on some opportunity in the time since the assault to inflict violence on Brock out of revenge, we might feel some sympathy for her actions, but as a society, we would still consider her actions criminal and though we might feel a tug of reluctance, we would still call for her prosecution. But this is also not about deterrent, or at least, not principally that. This is about justice.

Justice is the way societies attempt to redress failures of moral restraint. It is about showing that the collective many is stronger than any individual oppressor, it is the way we reassure ourselves that society will wield that power on our behalf if any of us are wronged, and it is about avenging the wrong done to a victim. And despite the similarity of the words, to avenge a wrong is something quite different than seeking revenge for a wrong. To avenge a wrong is to try to set the scales right to the best of our limited abilities. It is a penalty for breaking the social contract. and it only applies to the degree such a breakage can be established to be fully deliberate and voluntary. In effect, it respects the full personhood of the offender, because we would not apply the full punishment in cases of diminished capacity. Revenge, on the other hand, is giving vent to the desire to inflict deserved pain on an object of hate, or more specifically, to derive enjoyment from said infliction of pain. As such, the target of revenge is demoted to less than human status, and the target simply becomes a means to gratification through the suffering inflicted on it.

In this particular case, we asked a lot of the victim. She may not have liked the presumption of innocence being applied here, but as a society we require it in all cases. She may not have liked having to face the accused, and to be put through the indignity of interrogation, but we require it to reduce the chances of an unjust verdict. But after she did her part, and the accused was convicted by a jury which unanimously felt he was guilty beyond reasonable doubt on multiple felony counts, he got a six month sentence, possibly out in as little as three--not even a major fraction of the duration of the ordeal the victim went through to arrive at this point. We routinely see harsher sentences handed out for misdemeanor offenses. As a society, that really doesn't feel like the wrong that was done to her was avenged. And when our justice system fails any one of us that badly, it fails as the protector of last resort for the social contract, and in so doing, it fails all of us.

I would even argue that it failed Brock. One of the reasons we have a justice system is as a surrogate to displace and suppress the impulses for frontier justice, vigilantism, and mob retribution which would otherwise tend to proliferate and escalate. Whatever Brock thinks about his sentence, the rest of society sees it as a gross miscarriage of justice. If he'd received a punishment that fit the crime, he would not now be the focus of national outrage, and he'd have been able to slip into relative anonymity and obscurity after serving his time. As it is, the brief time that he spends in prison will be the easy part compared to what comes after. He's going to be a hounded pariah, and thanks to the internet, her witness statement will follow him around wherever he goes until he finds some way to hide or live in exile. --or until he meets up with someone whose impulse for vigilante justice was not sufficiently assuaged by this execrable sentence.


He's also now labeled as a sexual offender and will carry that around the rest of his life. That will affect his entire college/post college life including where he can live. Course he'll probably blame the victim and never understand that it was entirely his fault. Seems like the apple didn't fall far from the tree.


This is a woman who certainly deserves to be at an outstanding university. She has tremendous talent in her ability to put to words what needs to be said and to analyze situations at their foundations instead of superficially. The creep who destroyed her life got off easy and needs to be put in situations where he suffers the same type of horrific trauma that he inflicted on her so that he begins to have the empathy he needs. Trying to blame drinking is the ultimate in copouts. He knew what he was doing or he wouldn't have run. That he did it anyhow says everything you know about what kind of a morally decrepit person his parents raised. His father's response is even more indicative of why he was raised that way.


As the victim so eloquently laid out, this was not some misunderstanding where Brock simply didn't realize the gravity of what he was doing. He clearly knew it was wrong. It's why he tried to hide the deed behind a dumpster, and why he ran when he was caught in the act, and his tissue of lies and excuses after the fact fooled nobody. The defense attorney did not go after her out due to any lack of education or understanding. He did it because it was his job to sow doubt and lay some of the culpability onto her. I don't know exactly why the judge handed down the sentence he did, but I would certainly be interested to know what sort of sentences he gave for similar crimes which were committed by people who were not white, privileged, and connected to pillars of the community. I would definitely not expect that a criminal trial judge, of all people, would fail to understand that rape is bad due to some lack of education. As for the police who did not release Brock's mug shot, and the media outlets who posted Brock's well-groomed yearbook or varsity photos, along with listing his swim times, and who refrained from using the word rape, many people have observed that the police routinely release mug shots in other rape cases, and those same media outlets run those pictures with "rape" in the headlines when the accused is poor or dark-skinned. So there too, a lack of education that rape is bad does not seem to have been the overriding factor.

The men on bikes who interrupted the assault and ran down and detained Brock had no trouble understanding that what they saw happening was wrong. Nothing in the victims account suggests that any of the people at the hospital had any lack of understanding of the gravity of what had been done to her. Every single juror agreed this was an egregious wrong. And the social outrage over this matter attests to the overwhelming public understanding that this was wrong. I see nothing in this whole sad affair which points to any lack of education, understanding, or recognition that rape is bad. If a lack of understanding that what he was doing was wrong had been a factor in Brock's actions, that would have been a mitigating circumstance. The whole reason we, as a society, hold Brock fully culpable for his actions is precisely because there is more than ample information, education, and general awareness that rape is bad for any reasonable person to conclude Brock, even in his intoxicated state, had to have known what he was doing was wrong.


You're confusing prescribed (mandated) with proscribed (prohibited).

If you're gonna be an asshole about language, check your facts.


Perhaps you are right, education about rape has been around. I believe that perhaps a weak link is "boys will be boys" and that drinking somehow excuses the behavior of violence. I live in a family of wonderful Norwegian men that find it hard to discuss because of its depravity and violence. I have an old friend that wrote an excellent book "Men on Rape" by Tim Beneke years ago. It was the first call that I heard about men taking responsibility for this behavior. The Swedish? Students that caught this guy are to be commended. Still, I have my doubts as to the attorney doing his/her job by insinuation, just because it is the job doesn't make it right. From her letter, it sounded as though going to trial was a threat in itself. The obvious disparity in the trial is that the rapist is a young white student full of potential etc. and that the judge could not make a good decision on sentencing because of his own bias. The contrast of had that been a young man of color and poor is unthinkable in terms of sentencing. I have experienced that when men in society change their attitudes towards issues (especially with women) then change can come. Thank you for your comments.


Well that shows me.