Recalled Judge Aaron Persky Asks for Help to Pay Off $135K in Campaign-Related Legal Costs

Aaron Persky, who lost his job in the state’s first judicial recall in nearly nine decades, is asking supporters to help pay off a small fortune in court-ordered debt he incurred by challenging the campaign against him.

“I am writing to thank you for your support during the recall campaign, and to ask you to contribute to defray $135,000 in court-ordered attorney fees arising from the recall,” he wrote in an email sent Tuesday. “On June 5, 2018, I was recalled by voters after a well-funded, misleading, and extremely negative campaign by recall proponents. My campaign, which stressed the vital importance of an independent judiciary, received broad support from the legal community in Santa Clara County and beyond.”

The 56-year-old Palo Alto resident said he has until the end of the month to pay it all off.

More than 60 percent of Santa Clara County voters supported the recall in response to the controversially brief sentence Persky gave to a former Stanford swimmer convicted of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman. The embattled judge, who took home an $186,000-a-year salary on the bench, raised $840,000 to fend off the recall, which he unsuccessfully tried to block in court.

Persky didn’t respond right away to a request for comment.

But in his email, Persky explained how the debt stemmed from a lawsuit contending that the California Secretary of State, and not the local election office, should preside over the petition to qualify the recall for the ballot. A lower court rejected his claim in 2017.

“Unfortunately,” Persky wrote, “recall proponents, represented by a California law firm, prevailed in the litigation.” He added: “I pursued the litigation so that Superior Court judges would benefit from the same procedural protections as other state officers who face recall elections.”

Michele Dauber, a Stanford University law professor who led the high-profile recall campaign, said the ex-jurist had it coming.

“Judge Persky made the bad decision to repeatedly file frivolous lawsuits and appeals with the goal of stalling and causing expense,” she wrote in an email to San Jose Inside. “The court has concluded that he should be required to pay for that decision, and we are happy that our lawyer will be getting paid for his outstanding work in defending our constitutional rights, and those of the voters of Santa Clara County.”

Jennifer Wadsworth is the former news editor for San Jose Inside and Metro Silicon Valley. Follow her on Twitter at @jennwadsworth.


  1. If losing litigants had to pay the winner’s attorney fees in every case, frivouls litigation would dry up.
    However, the current definition of frivolous is too narrow, and needs to be expanded.

    • “Frivolous” is actually not the right adjective in this ex judge in filing lawsuits & appeals;More of an”arrogant” attempt to block a democratic & legitimate vote in the community he served..
      ;And asking his “supporters” to pick up his own legal bills reveals a lack of ethical conduct& mentality for he has to take responsability for his actions.Arent’ judges called’honorable”?
      He could have resigned back in 2016 for when an auxiliary of Justice ceases to be respected and appreciated by most citizens in one’s community,one needs to resign and move on without making waves to avoid controversies etc
      However he would have then lost almost 2 years of his very comfortable $180 000 per year salary…Maybe that’s why.

  2. Judge Persky was one of the judges who was involved in the divorce case where Kathey Fyke was sanctioned $1 million dollars during her divorce from a Saratoga lawyer. Odd Persky would be asking for help when he is part of a gang of judges who sanctioned spouses simply for being in a divorce. Judge Persky was recently offered employment as a Special Master, and didn’t call back. Really have to question using an elected position to solicit donations to pay back sanctions and legal fees for a judge who had no problem dishing out these fees on everyday voters. Persky still has a Bar card, as a special master or referee, or court appointed anything , he could make millions a year. These payments aren’t even tracked and many lawyers keep them off the radar of the taxing authorities. Sanctions and legal fees are out of control in Santa Clara County. Welcome to the other side Aaron Persky.

      • Doesn’t matter who is right or wrong in a divorce case. Judges sanctioning families and allowing legal fees to surpass a million dollars in a middle class divorce case has to be addressed. Persky is whining about paying a fraction of what he has expected families to pay in Santa Clara County for decades. There is currently an antitrust complaint about these same lawyers before the California Supreme Court. Either the state’s top judges are going to control their lawyers or they will continue to allow greed and corruption in our family courts. Michael Cohen is going to jail for what some family lawyers have been doing for decades. James McManis , Judge Persky’s lawyer included in that antitrust lawsuit.

        • > Judges sanctioning families and allowing legal fees to surpass a million dollars in a middle class divorce case has to be addressed.

          Again, inside baseball.

          I don’t really understand what “sanctioning” is in divorce cases.

          Please explain.

          Silly me. I have always thought that courts were supposed to be about “justice” and “rule of law”.

          “Sanctioning” sounds vaguely medieval.

          • Yes, Vacancy Vaquero – and Susan Bassi is also a signature on an antitrust complaint related to the criminal conspiracies of lawyers to put people on the VL list in a divorce case to shut them up as they make millions off a divorce. Do you think any lawyer deserves to make millions of dollars in a middle class divorce ? Or that a judge like Persky should let them? If Persky thinks these fees were not reasonable, then he should not have been awarding them to private lawyers like Bradford Baugh and Lynne Yates Carter as he did. Oh and is that your real name or just the one used by lawyers hiding in the shadows to quash free speech in the court of public opinion. If you have time for links , here is the antitrust list published on the California State Bar’s website:

          • Thank you for asking for clarification. Sanctioning means fining money. In family court since the 1990s. Judges have been issuing fines with no schedule or state mandate. These fines are as little as $1000 and up to one million as found in the Fyke case. The fines are paid to the other side’s lawyer. The public needs to start asking what a stay at home spouse could possibly have done in a divorce case to be fined one million dollars. And if Judge Persky thinks the $135,000 is excessive for a family paid public money then how did he justify the fees being paid to divorce lawyers appearing in his court as not being excessive? Antitrust complaint sitting before the Ca Supreme Court because it was ignored by the State Bar . Perksy cases included in that complaint .

      • Bravo-well said. I am tired of people who think the laws don’t apply to them as they dish out these ridiculous sanctions. See what happens Persky when you close your eyes to justice. Pay your own damn fines.

    • He must live in a multi million dollars house and can easily afford his debt of $ 130 000 .he just wants others to pay for him ,that’s all.

    • Persky was offered a job as special master for the antitrust lawsuit. He didn’t take the offer, opted to ask for donations instead. In family court that would require imputing of income. Welcome to our world Mr. Persky. It is a world you helped create. Many lawyers I deeply respect tell me you were one of the best judges the county had. Now you can be one of the best citizens the county has by speaking up about what is happening in our courts and how family court legal fees and sanctions have gotten out of control. So out of control voters are recalling judges. I understand Judge Lucas, Judge Towery, Judge Scott, Judge Emede and Judge Takaichi are next. Huge cost to taxpayers, maybe the Board of Supervisors will start to pay attention to what this is costing local families.

  3. contrast this with Martinez Superior Probate Judge John Sugiyama granting several racketeering probate attorneys $200,000 from my mother’s coffers who was a 3 decade civil servant who just happened to own a corner lot in Alamo California since the 60s instead of rightfully passing any of her estate to her disabled daughter whose name he put a lien on for using her ADA rights to a fee waiver for Courtcall as I was out of state and could not travel for all their frivolous filings constant continuances were set up to pad pockets harass witnesses and bastardize the trust instrument using grossly conflicted jackal lawyers even as temporary judges harming the only female beneficiary sabotaged out of defense using every sick corrupt trick in the book including judicial retaliation and eviction attempts and every single judge in California is guilty and should be recalled because they know this is going on and they do nothing about it violating every rule of ethics as well as law time’s up

  4. I wasn’t a fan of the recall or Dauber. But the lawsuit was frivolous and dumb. The McManis Law Firm convinced Persky to waste the court’s time. shame of them and for Persky to agreeing to do it. Judges are elected by Santa Clara County voters. Did they really think that the Sec of State should have jurisdiction? It was either a really dumb legal move or a really dumb political decision. Yes, they should pay for their stupidity.

  5. Judge Strother will be next for his ridiculous sentence of Jacob Anderson. They can both pay their legal bills from the bribes they must have received from their rapists parents.

  6. > Michele Dauber, a Stanford University law professor who led the high-profile recall campaign, said the ex-jurist had it coming.

    > “,,, we are happy that our lawyer will be getting paid for his outstanding work in defending our constitutional rights, and those of the voters of Santa Clara County.”

    WHAT? ! ! !

    Michele Dauber believes in “constitutional rights”?

    Do Democrats know this?

    Why did Michele oppose the rule of law and the constitutional right of citizens to an independent judiciary and support democratic “dictatorship of the majority”?

  7. What do you mean ?Democracy is by ( the Greek )definition the dictatorship of the majority of the people and not the dictatorship of the minority of the people..

  8. I won a case that put me and my family in jeopardy for several years, defense fees, court fees, accounting fees, not to mention personal attacks on me and my family. Kind of like the Judge Kavanaugh case. All lies with no merit. If you don’t have the money to defend yourself, you’re pretty much guilty. No due process. So do I like attorneys that take pro bono cases like the one leveled on me, no I do not. When it was all done the other side had to return what they stole from the safe and pay all of my fees. Then their attorney said “what do you think of my clever lawyering?” to my attorney, not realizing I was standing within earshot. So when a Judge like this that should have to walk around in a clown suit, should reap what he sowed. One less jackass in the system, pay your own damn fees.

  9. > Sanctioning means fining money. In family court since the 1990s. Judges have been issuing fines with no schedule or state mandate.

    This doesn’t sound like “rule of law”. It sounds like “rule of judges”.

    There must be more to it.

    It sounds like just another form of “asset forfeiture”.

  10. I am not a vexatious litigant and what should have been a community property divorce with custody issues (due to permissiveness and drug use allowed by the other parent) became an AFCC circus: endless AFCC members leeching funds from our case. A GAL who bills 40k plus a year and does nothing, evaluations and experts to refute the evaluations who are personal friends?!! Massive conflicts of interests and case churning.

    The abusive parent with the money, usually the dad, prevails with attorneys who outright lie and forge mortgage documents and drug tests.

    Our justice system needs serious accountability.
    Persky did a lot worse to protective mothers in many cases.
    The Brock case just brought public attention to his corruption.

  11. People of Santa Clara County (that’s where Ms. Christine Blasey Ford / Michele Dauber / ‘Emily Doe’ / Cindy Hendrickson are coming from) is SICK with their treatment in sex related cases, cause there is ___A Clear Pattern of Discrimination Against Men___; Here is my answer to an intimidation by a COWARD self-entitled ‘@Peter Cao Insane’ who is a resident of Mountain View of Santa Clara County, originally posted on Mountain View Voice website (but censored)
    >>@Peter Cao Insane
    >>a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
    >>2 minutes ago
    >>YOU again?

    >>You should be in an insane asylum. Or in solitary confinement, one or the other…
    My Answer: Talking about ‘insane asylum’, I didn’t abuse the office name tag, Gabriele Scheler did; I didn’t grab Scheler ‘s ID while she grabbed mine; I didn’t stab Scheler in the back with a pen, Gabriele Scheler did it on me; I didn’t assault Scheler, she assaulted me which had injured me and left multiple bloody stripes on me; I reported to our boss Professor Pat Langley since the beginning and had shown Pat and Stanford Police in person my injuries due to Scheler’s assault, while Scheler didn’t; Scheler had lied to police and judicial authorities during the police investigation, while I am honest and truthful to police and judicial authorities throughout; That’s why I am defined as a victim while Gabriele Scheler a criminal suspect in official police report [Stanford police case number: IR #04-111-0335; Victim: Peter Cao; Criminal Suspect: Gabriele Scheler] (web link here: alturlDOTcom/xzzs6 replace DOT with . for the right web address)___do you have any problem with that? Scheler assualted me after I called in a Korea Stanford student who confirmed to her on site in the lab that I was legally working with him on a robot project in that lab; Those 7 photo evidence I posted on the web had clearly indicated that Scheler had heavily assaulted me from back multiple-times, while I was fleeing; Scheler had repeatedly kicked me on the groin part; when I told her:’You got it, very painful’, she replied:”It’s not good for fertilizer, eh?” ___Isn’t that a typical sexual assault behavior? How could such obscene behaviors be ignored by those judicial officers? What do you think about such lewd behavior? What do you think about those bloody stripes on me due to Scheler’s assault? All other people in that lab were polite to each other, but Scheler had been rude to a male Korean Stanford student and a female Japanese visiting scholar in that lab before insulting and assaulting me; The Korea Stanford student told me that ‘Scheler is the only one in that lab who doesn’t know how to communicate’; Our boss Professor Pat Langley told me that Scheler is ‘bizzare’ and that he believed me but not Scheler; My testimony and evidence is truthful and real which can withstand public scrutiny, while Scheler’s testimony is all made up which is full of childish lies; Scheler can not show us any evidence to support her accusations because they are all false;___It is Gabriele Scheler who had behaved ERRATICALLY and IRRATIONALLY throughout, but not me; In fact I am very much humble, polite and reasonable in the whole case;

    In light of all such undeniable facts, don’t you realize that there is something seriously wrong in Gabriele Scheler’s mind? Don’t you realize that there is also something seriously wrong in the handling of this case by Santa Clara DA’s Office led by Dolores Carr / Jeff Rosen; Why don’t you call authorities to send Gabriele Scheler to ‘an insane asylum. Or in solitary confinement, one or the other…’? Are you a human being with any sense of rightousness? That’s why we should call it as EGREGIOUS MISCARRIAGE OF JUSTICE, right? But, would people of Santa Clara County like to live in a society where miscarriage of justice is going on and fascism prevails? I hope not;

    CC: Justices of the California Supreme Court: Justice Mariano-Florentino Cu¨|llar, Justice Carol A. Corrigan, Justice Goodwin H. Liu, and Justice Leondra R. Kruger. Seated, from left: Kathryn M. Werdegar (Retired August 31, 2017), Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye, and Justice Ming W. Chin

    CC: Senators Chuck Grassley / Dianne Feinstein / Kamala Harris / Susan Collins / Cory Booker / Lisa Murkowski / Jeff Flake and other Senators / Supreme Court Justices

  12. >>’The Business Man’ said: “This is EQUAL JUSTICE UNDER LAW.”
    ___’EQUAL JUSTICE UNDER LAW means you need to protect rights of both parties while considering misconducts from both sides; You can’t find justice for women without justice for men, and vice versa;

    >>’The Business Man’ said:” Why can’t men figure out they are accountable for their actions? Brock got off light.”
    ___You are a very much ultra-radical, extremely biased ‘women’s rights activist’; It is people like you who makes the whole Santa Clara County SICK; You still haven’t realized that women should be responsible for their actions as well; It is not a privilege for women to accuse men without evidence, and women will face legal consequences if they falsely accuse men on lies; ‘Emily Doe’ had already lied in several parts in her famous 7200 word essay which can be found in posters above;
    ___Yeah, Brock Turner’s future is totally ruined by this still questionable incident, while this sleazy-playing lady hiding behind a PRETENTIOUS moniker ‘Emily Doe’ tried to play as a hero out of her self-intoxicated experience, despite her own misconducts (like she was binge-drinking alcohol into oblivion by herself and she had played sleazily in a wild party after drunk by herself; and she is not honest in her description of the incident; and before Emily Doe’s testimony can withstand public scrutiny under her real identity, her victim status is still in question);

    >>’The Business Man’ said: “He should not be allowed to stop registering as a sex offender ever.”
    ___Brock Turner didn’t really do a life-long damage to ‘Emily Doe’, while Doe’s accusations against him is based on the testimony coming out of her drunken memory which would influence that poor young man Brock Turner for the rest of his life ___Such a result is very much UNFAIR and INJUSTICE;

    This piece for ‘Emily Doe’ would answer such of your radicalized claim further:
    >>’Emily Doe’ said: “Victims are not victims, not some fragile, sorrowful aftermath. Victims are survivors, and survivors are going to be doing a hell of a lot more than surviving.”
    ___Ms. ‘Emily Doe’, victims are not victims until they are truthful; and victims are not victims until they are able to withstand public scrutiny; if your testimony cannot withstand public scrutiny under your truthful real name instead of a moniker ‘Emily Doe’, your victim status would be in question; Also Brock Turner didn’t really do a life-long damage to you, while your accusations against him is based on the testimony coming out of your drunken memeory which would influence that poor young man Brock Turner for the rest of his life ___Such a result is very much UNFAIR and INJUSTICE; So it is imperative for the public to learn your real identity to see if your testimony can truthfully withstand public scrutiny;

  13. .> So it is imperative for the public to learn your real identity to see if your testimony can truthfully withstand public scrutiny;

    I was unaware that the identity of the Brock Turner’s accuser was NOT disclosed even during the trial.

    This totally sucks and absolutely is NOT equal justice under law.

    It is secret trials with secret evidence and denial of a FULL AND FAIR hearing.

    One of the central miscreants in this disgusting legal charade is Stanford University Law School professor Michelle Landis Dauber who, we are told has a PhD in Sociology and has NOT passed a Bar Exam.

    Dauber is both unqualified to be educating lawyers AND is actively working in opposition to the American system of justice.

    Stanford University Law school should be sanctioned by removing it’s accreditation.

    The Stanford community and Stanford Law School graduates in particular need to face the reality that their fancy Stanford Law School diploma with the gold seal and the tasteful ribbon isn’t going to be worth squat if their alma mater isn’t accredited.

    Time for some accountability.

    • See Victim’s Rights Act and specifically Marsy’s law , both the media and the courts are mindful of the duty to protect the privacy of a victim.

      • > See Victim’s Rights Act and specifically Marsy’s law ,. . . .

        Maybe you could give us the executive summary.

        On the face of it, when the accuser is shielded from cross examination, the accused is denied “the right to confront his accuser”.

        A common defense in court proceedings is to establish that the plaintiff or accuser has a history of lying. Brock Turner was, apparently, denied that right,

        Where is the ACLU? Probably off somewhere defending communists, or entrapping gun owners.

        “Communism is the goal.”

      • > See Victim’s Rights Act and specifically Marsy’s law , both the media and the courts are mindful of the duty to protect the privacy of a victim.

        It certainly looks as if Brock Turner was victimized by this egregious denial of due process, compounded the Michelle Dauber orchestrated obstruction of justice resulting from the mob intimidation of Judge Persky.

        Does the Victim’s Rights Act protect Brock Turner?

      • >>’The Business Man’ said: “He should not be allowed to stop registering as a sex offender ever.”


        1. What did Brock Turner do that Bill Clinton DIDN’T do a hundred times (or more) to a hundred different women (or more)?

        2. Did Bill Clinton have to register as a sex offender?

        3. How come Marsy’s Law DIDN’T protect Paula Jones or Juanita Broaddrick or Kathleen Willey?

    • I kind of agree with you about Horseface and Stanford, but you seem unaware of key details in the Brock Turner case. It wasn’t a he said/she said where she’s the accuser and only witness. The victim did testify that she drank to oblivion. They were discovered by others while she was unconscious. Even if she didn’t remember anything, Turner would’ve been convicted.
      Bill Clinton never got caught in quite the same way. He earned the moniker “Slick Willie” through repeated exploits including dodging the draft in 1968. I suppose you’re trying to point out the hypocrisy of all the Hillary supporters getting behind Horseface. Their campaign against Judge Persky made him seem like a serial rapist when he simply followed a probation department recommendation.

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