The campaign to recall Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky celebrated a big win earlier this week, when the Registrar of Voters announced it gathered enough signatures to qualify a measure for the June 5 ballot.
Proponents of the recall submitted nearly 95,000 signatures—well above the 58,634 valid names needed to land on the ballot, according to the registrar’s office.
“I’m happy to inform you that… we cleared the last hurdle,” Michele Dauber, a Stanford law professor leading the recall effort tweeted to her followers on Wednesday.
Persky gained national attention after his highly criticized sentencing of Brock Turner, a former Stanford student convicted of sexually assaulting an intoxicated, unconscious woman. Prosecutors argued that Turner should spend up to six years in state prison, but the judge hewed to the algorithmically calculated guidance of the probation office, which suggested a relatively short stay in county jail. Many were shocked when Turner walked free after only serving half of his six month sentence.
District Attorney Jeff Rosen criticized Persky’s sentence, but said he opposes the recall because it could undermine judicial independence. The Santa Clara County Bar Association has positioned itself against the recall for the same reason.
Come June, voters will be asked to weigh in on two items related to the Persky recall: whether the judge should be removed from the bench and who should replace him.
So far, only one candidate has put her name in the running—assistant district attorney Cindy Hendrickson. If voters oust Persky this summer, it would be the first judicial recall in California in 87 years.
Although qualifying for the June primary ballot is a big milestone for the campaign, the final hurdle will be getting voters to oust Persky in the primary this summer. The election will come two years after Persky’s controversial ruling, and amid the #MeToo movement, which continues to remind voters of the of the harsh realities women experience at the hands of powerful abusers.