Michele Dauber Pulls Out of Persky Recall Debate, Sends Colleague to Face LaDoris Cordell

Stanford Law Professor Michele Dauber pulled out of a debate over the movement to recall Judge Aaron Persky hours before the event last night with the South Peninsula Area Republican Coalition, sending a colleague to debate in her place.

Citing a mandatory parent meeting at her son’s school, the Recall Persky campaign leader sent G. Marcus Cole, a Stanford Law professor who published an op-ed piece supporting the recall in the San Francisco Chronicle on Aug. 22.

Cole teaches courses on bankruptcy, banking, contracts and venture capital at the law school and identified himself as one of four Republicans on faculty to the audience at the Fremont Hills Country Club in Los Altos Hills last night.

He faced off against retired Palo Alto Judge LaDoris Cordell, a Persky supporter who brought with her 200 pages of emails between Dauber and the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office, obtained through a public records request.

Researching Persky

Dauber had been corresponding with prosecutors to unearth Persky’s cases prior to the six-month county jail sentence he gave Stanford sex assailant Brock Turner, a task for which she had enlisted students’ help to pull records at the courthouse.

Stanford law Professor G. Marcus Cole argues for the recall of Judge Persky during the April 18 event. (Photo by Allison Levitsky, via Palo Alto Daily Post)

“In their desperate attempt to paint a picture of Judge Persky as a biased judge and overall bad person, and after combing through thousands of records, the recall campaign came up with five cases,” Cordell said. “Think about it, five cases out of 2,000. That’s 0.25 percent, or one-quarter of 1 percent, of Judge Persky’s cases. Common sense tells you that’s not a pattern.”

Cole, meanwhile, focused on the “uniquely powerful” role of Superior Court judges, who because of their six-year terms, don’t face as many limits as lifetime-appointed federal judges do.

“This is why California law and the California Constitution, as well as 26 other states, balance judicial independence with judicial accountability,” Cole said. “The sweeping powers of state court judges requires that they be exercised with the public trust. That trust was breached by Judge Persky in the Brock Turner case.”

Prior Cases

Turner’s light sentence in 2016 triggered outrage, Cole said, but Persky had showed bias elsewhere over the 18 months during which he heard cases at the Palo Alto Courthouse.

Cole cited the four-day county jail sentence Persky gave to Robert Chain for felony child pornography possession.

The judge also allowed Ikaika Gunderson, convicted of felony domestic violence, to leave without probation or supervision so that he would not lose the opportunity to play football for the University of Hawaii, and did not inform Hawaii officials as required by the Interstate Compact for Adult Offender Supervision, according to Cole.

Cole also criticized Persky for allowing lawyers for the De Anza College baseball players accused of gang rape to show revealing photographs of the victim to the jury, “as if to suggest she was asking for it,” Cole said.

Persky’s Past Honors

But prior to the Turner case, Cordell said, Persky had never been accused of misconduct or showing bias. His wife is a woman of color and his two elementary school-age children are biracial, she said.

While in private practice at the Palo Alto law firm Morrison and Foerster, Persky received the Civil Rights Leadership Award for his work on hate crimes and the State Bar of California’s Pro Bono Award for his legal work for the poor, Cordell said.

In the District Attorney’s Office, he prosecuted violent sex crimes and hate crimes and served on the executive committees of the Support Network for Battered Women and the Santa Clara County Network for a Hate-Free Community.

“Had Judge Persky sentenced Brock Turner to prison instead of jail, we wouldn’t be here this evening. There would be no recall,” Cordell said. “Had he just said the word ‘prison,’ Judge Persky would have been the toast of the town, the best judge ever. But he made a lawful decision that he deemed appropriate to the facts, and now the recall wants you to believe that he’s the worst judge ever.”

Cordell questioned the appropriateness of recalling Persky for an unpopular sentence, suggesting that if a judge isn’t fit for the job, run against him. Recalls are intended for judges who engage in egregious misconduct, which is why California hasn’t seen a judge recalled in 85 years.

Cole said Persky should be recalled in June because of the level of public outrage that the Turner case outcome stirred up, leading the recall to gather 100,000 signatures.

He also argued that the county can’t afford for sexual assault victims to not come forward, which could be the result of Persky remaining in office. Neither side mentioned that Persky is currently the court’s night judge, working from home to sign police warrants at odd hours, not hearing cases.

This article was republished with permission from the Palo Alto Daily Post, which originally ran the article on April 19, 2018.


  1. Shame on Stanford Law School and Stanford University for employing and paying these radical activists to undermine the Constitutional principles of due process, equal protection, and judicial independence.

    Shame. shame. shame.

    • It’s a testament to Stanford that they support law professors who are educating our whole state about our right as citizens to use the ballot to hold our government accountable. This is a “use it or lose it” moment for California’s direct democracy, and we should all be grateful to Professors Dauber and Cole for reminding us of our power and responsibility as citizens. They’re not undermining the state Constitution, they’re wielding it. I hope we all take this responsibility seriously and vote to Recall Persky on June 5.

      • > California’s direct democracy,

        “Democracy” is government by the stupidest and most easily manipulated fifty-one percent.

        The ancient Greek Sophist school of philosophers invented the art of manipulating the stupid mobs through clever (and deceitful) use of “rhetoric”.

        “Democracy” is simply the dictatorship of the sophists.

        The word “democracy” does not appear in the U.S. Constitution. We are a constitutional republic.

        A constitutional republic can create a Bill of Rights”. A “democracy” does NOT need a Bill of Rights. A Bill of Rights is contrary to the premise of a “democracy”.

        Vox populi: “the voice of the people is the voice of God”.

        “And those people should not be listened to who keep saying the voice of the people is the voice of God, since the riotousness of the crowd is always very close to madness.” — Alcuin, Letter to Charlemagne, 798

        It’s totally contrary and destructive to civilization for Stanford Law School to have people like Michele Dauber on its faculty espousing and proselytizing for “direct Democracy”.

        “direct Democracy” is the direct opposite of the rule of law.

        Time to clean house at Stanford.

  2. I’m incredulous, there is no way someone can become a Stanford law professor, lead a judicial recall campaign and rise to the stature of someone like Michele Dauber without knowing how to use a calendar. Her excuse is bizarre, and the last-minute timing of it especially so.

  3. Seems like headline should be “very busy working mother has last minute scheduling snafu, solves by getting a sub, event goes on as planned, nothing bad happens.” Thanks SJ Inside for letting us know that you do not understand that moms who work struggle to meet all their obligations even though it’s 2018. Good to know.

    Where’s your story about the fact that Aaron Persky has shown up for nothing and he is the elected official who is not “facing” the voters to whom he is accountable. Or is it just women who get bashed?

    • > Where’s your story about the fact that Aaron Persky has shown up for nothing . . .

      Every day, billions of people DON’T show up for “facing” voters. Where’s the news here?

      > Or is it just women who get bashed?

      Well, yes. In Woman-land, only women get bashed.

      In Woman-land, the judicial system is much simpler: men are always oppressors and always guilty.

      Woman-land is kind of like North Korea where Kim Jong-Un is a woman.

  4. “Cole cited the four-day county jail sentence Persky gave to Robert Chain for felony child pornography possession.”

    Now you lefties are showing yourself. No way would a conservative take it easy on child porn. This guy is a morally relative leftist like the rest of you.

  5. What a ridiculous headline! How about you focus on the recall and the facts instead of bashing a person with a legitimate excuse? Dauber has spoken at many events and is not afraid to take on critics. This is not about Cordell or Dauber. That is a distraction you from recall opposition you bought hook, line and sinker. This smacks of Palo Alto elitism- and it’s no coincidence that the story originated from the Palo Alto Daily, a Persky stronghold where protecting the privileged makes sense to those sitting pretty with their privilege. I typically appreciate San Jose Insider’s candor, but this headline missed the mark and gets a bullseye on BS.

  6. This isn’t about judicial independence, but male bias and weak sentencing requirements. A judge should be fair at all times, no matter what. If a judge makes one big mistake, revealing they are fundamentally unfair, they can be removed from office based upon that one mistake.

    I cannot dignify Persky with his title. He clearly does not have any sense of the pain and inner suffering caused by sexual violence. He does not empathize with the victims, he empathizes with the guilty.

    I’ve seen it reported that he’s lost friends over his refusal to resign. He’s an attorney with experience who can find work easily after he did. I’ve been asked to resign before and gladly did so because I was already working on my exit. It’s obvious he’s a person with a huge ego and full of pride in his position. Not a judge. Judges must be fair. He’s not.

    If I caught a man in the act of doing what Turner did to my daughter, I may be the one who ends up spending some time in jail. What Turner did morally requires prison time, pure and simple. Cordell is right. This is about one case. It only needs to be about one case.

    The victim of sexual violence in this case has not received justice. Perhaps Persky’s recall will be of some consolation to her.

    • > This isn’t about judicial independence, but male bias and weak sentencing requirements.

      Your posting is not about “rule of law”, it’s about tribal warfare against the “male” tribe.

      > The victim of sexual violence in this case has not received justice.

      The tribalist definition of “justice” is: “my tribe wins”.

      If the judicial system and judicial proceedings are reduced to spasms of “direct democracy”, you can kiss “rule of law” goodbye.

      “Democracy” is majoritarianism. “DIrect democracies” don’t need “rule of law”. The mob IS the law.

      The Judean mob demanded the release of Barabbas and the execution of Jesus.


      The Athenian “democracy” convicted Socrates of “impiety” and ordered his execution by requiring him to drink poisonous hemlock.

      Mob justice is INJUSTICE.

      Shame on Stanford Law School for harboring the rabid mob inciter Michele Dauber and enabling her lawless vigilanteism.

  7. Persky’s Past Honors

    But prior to the Turner case, Cordell said, Persky had never been accused of misconduct or showing bias.

    Through personal experience I know this is not true! We have accused Judge Persky in letters sent to the Presiding Judge , the DA Jeff Rosen, and to the Judicial Review Board complaining about the bias of Judge Persky, and the appearance of a misogynistic court. NO ONE responded.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *