Judge cleared of misconduct for sentencing Brock Turner to 6 months in jail for sex assault

This June 27, 2011 file photo shows Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky, who drew criticism for sentencing former Stanford University swimmer Brock Turner to only six months in jail for sexually assaulting an unconscious woman. (Jason Doiy/The Recorder via AP, File)

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A California agency that oversees judicial discipline in the state ruled Monday that a judge committed no misconduct when he sentenced former Stanford University swimmer Brock Turner to six months in jail for sexually assaulting a young woman on campus.

The California Commission on Judicial Performance said was evidence that Santa Clara County Judge Aaron Persky displayed bias in handing down a sentence decried as too lenient by critics across the country.

“The commission has concluded that there is not 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.

READ MORE: Ex-Stanford swimmer’s sexual assault victim reads letter in court

The commission said it received thousands of complaints and petitions regarding Persky and the sentence.

The petitions included complaints that Persky “displayed gender bias and failed to take sexual assault of women seriously,” and showed favoritism to Turner because the judge was a former Stanford athlete as well.

Turner, 21, was released from jail in September after serving three months. He will be on probation for three years in his native Ohio and is a registered sex offender.

READ MORE: Witches gather online to hex Brock Turner

Persky is the target of a recall campaign.

Brock Turner leaves the Santa Clara County Main Jail in San Jose, Calif., on Friday, Sept. 2, 2016. (Dan Honda/Bay Area News Group via AP)
Brock Turner leaves the Santa Clara County Main Jail in San Jose, Calif., on Friday, Sept. 2, 2016. (Dan Honda/Bay Area News Group via AP)

Turner was convicted of assaulting the woman near a trash bin after they drank heavily at a fraternity party. The woman had passed out and Turner was on top of her when confronted by two graduate students passing by on bicycles. They chased and tackled him when he tried to flee, holding him on the ground until police arrived.

A jury in March found Turner guilty of three felony sexual assault counts. Persky sentenced him to six months in jail, citing the “extraordinary circumstances” of Turner’s youth, clean criminal record and other considerations in departing from the minimum sentence of two years in prison. Prosecutors had argued for six years.

Turner’s case exploded on social media and ignited a debate about campus rape and the criminal justice system after the victim’s 7,200-word letter that she read in the courtroom during sentencing was published online.

Keep checking NBC4i.com for real-time updates on this story. To get alerts for breaking news, grab the free NBC4 News App for iPhone or Android. You can also sign up for email alerts.

NBC4i.com provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s