Recall Persky campaign raises more than $1 million

Michele Stanford Law Professor Michele Dauber and Ex-Judge Aaron Persky

Originally published by the Post on May 5.

Daily Post Staff Writer

With a month to go before the June 5 election, the campaigns for and against the recall of Judge Aaron Persky have continued to pull in big money, including from some high-profile Silicon Valley donors.

The recall campaign, led by Stanford law professor Michele Dauber, has raised more than $1 million, including $322,785.38 in 2016 and $365,159.78 last year.

Between Jan. 1 and April 21 alone, the campaign had raised another $273,206.04 — but that was before some hefty contributions poured in.

Karla Jurvetson, a psychiatrist who lives in Los Altos, gave the campaign $170,000 on Wednesday, according to campaign filings. Jurvetson’s ex-husband, Steve Jurvetson, made headlines in November when he left the venture capital firm he co-founded, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, after sexual harassment allegations surfaced about him. The couple split up in 2015. Last Saturday (April 28), Laure Woods, a clinical researcher and philanthropist who founded the LaureL Foundation, gave $30,000. The contribution was on top of $49,900 that she gave last year.

Los Altos resident Eva Grove, the widow of former Intel CEO Andy Grove, donated $32,000 on Sunday (April 29). Grove gave $6,000 to the campaign last year.

Persky’s supporters, meanwhile, have raised funds under two separate names, No Recall of Judge Persky and Retain Judge Persky — No Recall.

Between Jan. 1 and April 21, No Recall raised $188,735, according to campaign filings. Palo Alto Health Sciences founder Beth Siegelman has donated more than $100,000 to the campaign. Atherton philanthropist Liz Simons has given $49,500.

Retain Judge Persky raised $254,291 between Jan. 1 and April 21. The San Jose law firm McManis Faulkner has contributed $358,187 in legal services since Jan. 1, 2017, by representing Persky as he sued over the recall campaign, claiming it was unconstitutional.

Retain Judge Persky raised $446,751.47 last year, including $25,000 from the California Judges Association and $21,000 from attorney Julian Ong.

In an interview with the Post last week, Persky cited the “distastefulness” of having to disclose campaign donations from attorneys in the courtroom as one reason why he left to become the court’s so-called “night judge” last fall. He no longer hears civil cases and instead is on call between 5 p.m. and 8 a.m. from Sunday evening through Friday morning to sign search and arrest warrants and emergency protective orders.

“If I get up there on the bench and the ethics rules require me to say, ‘That lawyer gave $150 to the campaign and that lawyer gave $200,’ it doesn’t set, I don’t think, the right tone,” Persky told the Post. “You have to do it ethically and it should be done, but there was an opportunity for me to step away from that disclosure requirement and to do an important job, which is to do search warrants and emergency protective orders.”

Retired Palo Alto Judge LaDoris Cordell, an outspoken supporter of Persky, said that she saw the funds raised on both sides of the issue as misspent.

“Think of what $1.2 million could do to help, just in Santa Clara County, to fix our system. So we could have more beds, more shelters for battered women. We could have more counseling services for sexual assault victims. We could increase or help create education programs for high school counselors, for probation officers, for judges to increase their abilities, to understand and deal with sexual assault and the needs of victims when they come into our court system,” Cordell said. “But $1.2 million or more is being spent on one person, just to get rid of one person. And I just find that very, very sad.”


  1. I agree with LaDoris, what an awful waste of money. Think of all the productive, healthy things we could be spending one million dollars on!

  2. The recall campaign is not based on facts. It has intentionally misled the public over and over and has employed anger and fear as its main drivers. This is absolutely what we DON’T need in our judicial system.

    Do recall supporters really think that yelling “rape culture”, “misogyny” and “shame on you” is a good way to win over the public? It only shows that they think that they are morally superior to everyone else. Their self-righteousness is extremely off-putting. I also think that it does a huge disservice to women’s issues in general. And I say that as a feminist myself.

  3. LaDoris Cordell, I am the one that confronted you during your last debate about repeating the same stupidity and your lack of wiliness to provide reasonable answers for you nonsense claims. You decided to yelled for help! You are an emotionally weak person only strong with those that respect you title. RECALL PERSKY!

  4. I’m a 20 year resident of Palo Alto and I can’t believe how low the community has sunk because of this Recall. It seems to me like the recallers are fostering a mob mentality. The debate is ugly and uncivil. If they succeed in ousting this judge, who is next? When will this stop?

  5. To recall opponents: quit the ‘mob mentality’ argument against pro recall supporters. Recall supporters lawfully gathered signatures to put the recall on the ballot. The argument that if the recall wins that judges will be looking over their shoulders when coming to decisions on cases like Brock Turner is spurious; only a handful of judges over many decades have been recalled in referendums such as this. Anna Eshoo’s attempt to compare the independence of Judge Persky from public scrutiny to Robert Mueller’s independence from scrutiny is a convoluted stretch. Robert Mueller didn’t build his reputation serially defending men who rape unconscious women and pedophiles raping children. Please Mrs Eshoo, don’t try to Lionize Judge Persky with that rational.

  6. Vote NO on the recall

    How absurd; Michele Dauber is spending over $1 million on destroying a fair and well-respected judge who followed the rule of law, followed the voter initiative to consider probation for first-time offenders, he took into account both the victims and defendants as required by law, and he followed the unbiased sentencing recommendations of the Probation Department, as is standard.

    According to the Santa Clara County Bar Association, Judge Persky had no complaints against him during his entire 13 years on the bench. District Attorney Jeff Rosen, who opposes the recall, says the problem was the law, not Judge Persky, and said there were no other “allegations of impropriety during Persky’s tenure.” In reference to Judge Persky’s sentencing of Turner, Rosen said, “most judges would do the same.”

    Judge Persky is a strong advocate for battered women, in fact, he was an active and valuable member of the executive committee of the Support Network for Battered Women. He worked pro bono for the poor, and received a California Association of Human Relations Organizations’ Civil Rights Leadership Award.

    Instead of putting her energy into destroying an outstanding judge, Dauber should focus on fixing things that actually need to be fixed, e.g., the long delays in rape kit testing.

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