Sarah Sinclair | Contributing Writer | Wednesday, 29 June 2016

The Judge In The Brock Turner Case Is Under Fire Again - For Good Reason

The Judge In The Brock Turner Case Is Under Fire Again - For Good Reason

The Debrief: There's a new reason why Judge Persky is being accused of racial biased and being too lenient on Brock Turner

The judge who sentenced Brock Turner, the Stanford swimmer, to six months for being found guilty of rape has now giving a three year sentence to Raul Ramiraz, a 32-year-old man from El Salvador for an almost equal crime.

Ramirez, admitted sexually assaulting his female roommate in an incident that has been compared to that of the Stanford case. Judge Aaron Persky who has dealt with both cases offered this as a plea deal to Ramirez, according to the Guardian.

His bail was also set $50,000 higher than Brock Turner’s at $200,000.  

This contrasts to Turner, a white, 20-year-old former Stanford swimmer. Persky sentenced him to just six months in county jail since he was convicted of three counts of sexual assault while attending a fraternity party.

Critics have surfaced saying this could lend weight to the argument that Judge Persky has biases that affect how he works in the courtroom.

Alexander Cross, a defence attorney who represented Ramirez for a short time while his family could afford a lawyer, said ‘What’s happened with Mr Ramirez is standard, the anomaly is the Stanford case.’

The usual minimum sentence for a crime like this is two years in state prison but Judge Persky spared Turner this fate because a ‘prison sentence would have a severe impact on [Turner]’ and did not think Turner would be ‘a danger to others’.

It was after Turner’s victim produced and read a brave letter to him in court that went viral caused Judge Persky to come under scrutiny internationally. Persky was accused of being too ‘sympathetic’ and wrong for deciding Turner had ‘less moral culpability’ because he had been drinking.

The Ramirez case reflects the Stanford case; he was arrested at his home in Santa Clara County in November of 2014 after his roomate accused him of assault. 

Reports say Ramirez gave her a ‘love letter’ and entered her room without permission and started unconsentedly touching her for five to ten minutes, he stopped when she started crying.

One officer recorded, ‘Ramirez knew what he did was wrong and he wanted to say sorry’, he admitted to the assault when the police arrived.

Ramirez received a different charge to Brock Turner for the almost identical crimes which has a minimum sentence of three years which he pleaded guilty to for the plea deal. He had no previous criminal record (just like Brock Turner). 

The issue here isn't with Ramirez's sentence itself, but with how it highlights just how favourably Turner was treated at sentencing. Some have said that Judge Persky ‘bent over backwards to make an exception in the Turner case, and that if he wanted to give Ramirez the same favourable treatment, the judge could have utilised his discretion and recommended a less harsh prosecution.’

Michele Landis Dauber, a Stanford law professor who is a critic of Persky’s said ‘This just shows that our concern about Judge Persky’s ability to be unbiased is justified. We continue to think that he abused his discretion in giving an unduly lenient sentence to Turner,’.

Dauber continued to explain that Ramirez’s three-year plea deal ‘shows that Turner got consideration not available to other defendants who aren’t as privileged’.

Associated Press conducted a review of 20 of Persky’s criminal cases where he has issued sentences and came to the conclusion that a pattern of racial bias didn’t exist in his decision.

Turner still advocate that his victim consented despite the police and witnesses all confirming that she was unconscious during the incident. 

You may also be interested in:

Channing Tatum Calls Out Brock Turner's Lenient Sentence

Aaron Persky, The Judge Who Sentenced Brock Turner, Has Been Removed From New Sexual Assault Case

Ex Indiana University Student Charged With Two Rapes, Gets One Day In Jail

Follow Sarah on Twitter @sinclair_writes

Tags: Sexual Assault, Rape