Both sides of the recall hold rallies in San Jose

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

Campaigns for and against the recall of Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky held dueling rallies in San Jose today (May 30) in the wake of recent controversial comments by Persky’s campaign lawyer and spokesman about the victim in the case that brought the judge national notoriety.

This morning, Recall Persky chair Michele Dauber and fellow campaign supporters gathered outside the McManis Faulkner law office to call on the judge to condemn comments by lawyer Jim McManis that appeared in Vogue last week about the victim in the case of former Stanford swimmer Brock Turner.

In the article, McManis said Emily Doe was not attacked, despite Turner’s conviction for sexual assault of the woman after a party in 2015. Persky handed down a six-month jail sentence to Turner, a term that many people thought was too light.

McManis also said that the victim impact statement Doe read in court, which became a national viral sensation, was not in fact written by her.

Recall campaign supporters feel as though McManis’ statements were an attempt to again silence the victim and called on Persky today to repudiate the comments.

Two police officers responded to the rally after a man came over with a sign and repeatedly approached the protesters in front of McManis’ law firm and attempted to talk over them to news cameras.

San Jose Vice Mayor Magdalena Carrasco was speaking when the man, who later identified himself as Steve White, approached her and tried to use the microphone to describe his belief that Dauber has lied about several points of the Doe case.

“As a mother of four, three girls and one young man, I am doing everything that I can to make sure that they are not committing crimes and that we are taking people out of elected office that do not stand on the right side of history,” Carrasco said.

White later said that his issue with the recall campaign does not have to do with sexual violence, but with restraining orders, which he believes are “given out like water.”

White called himself a “victim” of what he claims was a fraudulent restraining order in the past when someone stated that he had threatened to harass them and “make their lives hell.”

This afternoon, Persky and opponents of the recall held a news conference outside of at the County Government Center in San Jose. The group discussed the campaign’s main point: a recall may cause judges in the future to consider public opinion over the law.

Both Santa Clara County’s District Attorney Jeff Rosen and Public Defender Molly O’Neal spoke on Persky’s behalf about how he followed the law implemented in the county at the time of Turner’s sentencing and how changes have been made to ensure those convicted with charges like Turner’s will now be sent to prison.

Persky did not discuss any of McManis’ comments but said he was surprised how much fallout came from the Turner decision.

He said judges should accept criticism but should focus “laser-like” on the law and tune out the negativity.

Persky said if people did their research and spoke to attorneys that appeared in his courtroom or those in family law courts, where he presided for two years, he would be open to hearing their take on his decision-making.

He said he hopes voters do their research and read the ballot before accepting the “Twitter version” of the Turner case and others he has been questioned about.

When asked about why Persky has strived to keep his seat through all the criticism from the recall campaign, he said most of the motivation came from trying to do right by his two sons.

“I don’t think that I could look them in the eyes and explain giving up,” he said.
— Bay City News


  1. Vote NO on the recall

    This article states, “Persky handed down a six-month jail sentence to Turner,” but omitted the rest of Turner’s sentence. But the truth is Turner did not just get a 6-month sentence. Brock Turner also got three years’ probation, alcohol and sex offender rehab, and worst of all, a life sentence as a Tier 3 registered sex offender. The sex offender designation is a life-altering sentence, especially for a young man, who will now have a very difficult time finding a job and developing a career, face minimal educational opportunities, face restrictions where he may live and travel, require re-registration every three months for the rest of his life, and he’ll undergo a multitude of other restrictions for the remainder of his life.

    People wrongly believe that the longer the sentence, the happier a victim will be, and the more law-abiding an offender will become; however, studies have proved the opposite. Rather, rehabilitation, cognitive behavioral programs based on social learning theory, and community sanctions are the keys to reducing recidivism and returning offenders back to society as productive members of society..

  2. 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.

    • Research has proven that judges give out longer sentences in the year before an election, so it is not spurious to think that judges will be giving out harsher sentences all the time if they worry they can be recalled at any moment for an unpopular decision. The recall campaign also cites the infrequency of recalls in the past – but in this day of rapid social media mobilization of money and public opinion, along with the rise in the use of paid signature gatherers, comparing today to the last 100 years is extremely misleading. Even the NY Times has noted the pronounced uptick in attacks on the court, in their editorial “Judges Shouldn’t Be Partisan Punching Bags”.

      I’m glad Rep. Eshoo, Rep. Lofgren, and Supervisor Simitian endorsed the NoRecall campaign. It tells me that they took the time to look at the facts and not just jump on an emotional bandwagon. In fact, LaDoris Cordell posted on her Twitter feed the results of a survey of a group of high school students who heard arguments for and against the recall, and over 2/3 opposed the recall after listening to each side. It’s obvious even to kids that the recall is wrong.

    • The recall was promoted through race-baiting, Latinos were encouraged to hate Persky because he was unfair to Latinos.

      Everyone who is not rich was encouraged to hate Persky for being from the upper class.

      They acted legally, but they used manipulation like a mob leader would, rather than giving logical reasons for the recall, they appealed to envy and resentment. Not literally a lynch mob, figuratively they were.

  3. Vote NO on the recall

    UC Berekeley Law School Dean Erwin Chemerinsky says, “The effort to recall Judge Aaron Persky is misguided and a threat to judicial independence. If there is disagreement with a judge’s decision, the appropriate remedy is to appeal the ruling, not to seek removal of the judge.”

    “Such recall efforts are a serious threat to judicial independence as judges will fear that unpopular rulings will cost them their jobs. Justice, and all of us, will suffer when judges base their decisions on what will satisfy the voters.”

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