A California judge, decried as too lenient when he sentenced former Stanford University swimmer Brock Turner to six months in jail for sexual assault, showed no bias, an agency has ruled.
Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky committed no misconduct when handing down the controversial sentence, the California Commission on Judicial Performance determined Monday.
“The commission has concluded that there was no clear and convincing evidence of bias, abuse of authority, or other basis to conclude that Judge Persky engaged in judicial misconduct warranting discipline,” the 11-member panel concluded in its unsigned ruling.
The commission received thousands of complaints and petitions against Persky after Turner's sentence, following the ex-student athlete's conviction in the sexual assault of an unconscious woman on campus.
The documents asserted the judge “displayed gender bias and failed to take sexual assault of women seriously” and that he was biased in Turner’s favor because he also was a former Stanford athlete.
The 21-year-old man was released from jail in September after serving three months and received three years of probation in his native Ohio, CBS News reported.
He was convicted of assaulting the woman, who had passed out near a garbage bin after a night of heavy drinking. Turner was on top of the young woman when two graduate students riding by on bicycles stopped the attack and chased Turner when he tried to run away.
They tackled him and held him until police arrived.
Prosecutors asked for a six-year sentence. The minimum was two years, but Persky handed down six months, saying Turner was young and had a previously clean criminal history.
The punishment created a backlash on social media and fueled campus protests, especially after the victim read aloud a 1,700-word letter in court to her attacker.
“You don’t know me, but you’ve been inside me, and that’s why we’re here today,” her statement began.
“You have dragged me through this hell with you, dipped me back into that night again and again. You knocked down both our towers, I collapsed at the same time you did,” she wrote. “If you think I was spared, came out unscathed, that today I ride off into sunset, while you suffer the greatest blow, you are mistaken.”