SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. -- (KTLA) -- Voters in a California county appeared to hand down a sentence of their own Tuesday to recall controversial Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky, according to early results from about half of the ballots.
If successful, it would be the first time since 1932 that voters in California opted to recall a sitting justice.
Persky gained national notoriety in June 2016 after the conviction on sexual assault charges of former Stanford University swimmer Brock Turner, sentencing him to six months in jail — a sentence many argued was far too lenient.
Chair of the Recall Persky Campaign, Michele Dauber, issued a statement Tuesday evening saying “we are cautiously optimistic. Tonight's results mirror what we heard while we were out talking to voters. We are thankful for our supporters and every person who donated their time — it truly made a difference.”
The embattled justice, in a rare interview with CNN last week, argued a successful recall effort wouldn't simply remove him from the bench, but would likely to set a dangerous precedent in the future.
“I think generally judges should accept criticism” Persky maintained. They should accept responsibility for rulings. But when it gets to the step of a recall — actually recalling a judge primarily based on one decision — that, for me, is a step too far,” he said.