BY ALLISON LEVITSKY
Daily Post Staff Writer
Michele Dauber, the Stanford law professor who led the campaign that removed so-called “Brock Turner judge” Aaron Persky from the Santa Clara County bench, is now seeking more than $112,000 in attorney’s fees and out-of-pocket costs from him, according to court documents.
She incurred the legal expenses when Persky sued county Registrar of Voters Shannon Bushey along with Dauber and other petitioners over the recall effort in August, claiming that their notice of intent to circulate the recall petition had violated the state constitution.
Persky’s lawyers argued that Persky was appointed a Superior Court judge by the governor, so he was a state officer, not a county officer. For this reason, the Secretary of State, rather than the county registrar, should have certified the petition, they claimed.
A judge granted Persky a restraining order to prevent the recall campaign from collecting signatures, but the pause only lasted 17 days — when another judge sided with the recall.
Persky then asked the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court to stop the recall, to no avail.
Now, Dauber wants Persky to pay the $112,456.45 that her camp spent on lawyers in fighting Persky’s lawsuit.
Dauber’s motion, filed in Santa Clara County Superior Court on Friday, claims that because Dauber was the “successful party” in the suit, her side is owed attorney’s fees.
Her lawyers also argue that Dauber enforced “important rights affecting the public interest,” providing a “significant benefit” to the general public by protecting the right of recall by the citizens of the county.
Public benefit cited
Dauber’s motion points out that almost 95,000 residents signed the petition — “more signatures than had been gathered on any other petition in the county’s history and almost twice the number needed to qualify the recall for the ballot” — and the recall won with 61.28% of the vote.
“As a result of (Dauber’s) defense of this action on appeal, the 95,000 Santa Clara County residents who signed the recall petition and the almost 200,000 Santa Clara County residents who voted in favor of (Persky’s) recall were able to exercise their valuable constitutional rights, notwithstanding (Persky’s) repeated attempts to deny them that opportunity,” Dauber’s attorney, Fredric Woocher, wrote. “(Dauber’s) defense of this action throughout the appellate proceedings thus conferred a significant benefit on the public, and enforced the fundamental right of recall that is enshrined in the California Constitution, all without any expectation of financial reward.”
According to a list of fees, Woocher racked up $97,212.50 for 111.1 hours of work. Attorney Beverley G. Palmer is owed $8,826.50 for 12.7 hours of work and attorney Jenna Miara is owed $5,295.50 for 8.9 hours.
Dauber has claimed another $1,121.95 in out-of-pocket expenses, including travel to attend court hearings, photocopy expenses and legal research charges. Persky made $186,416.90 as a judge last year, according to Transparent California.
A hearing hasn’t yet been set for a judge to hear the motion.