Activists hold signs calling for the removal of Judge Aaron Persky
Activists hold signs calling for the removal of Judge Aaron Persky from the bench after his controversial sentencing in the Stanford rape case, in San Francisco, California, U.S. June 10, 2016. Reuters/Stephen Lam

The judge who gave Brock Turner a lenient sentence in the infamous Stanford rape case trial has been ousted. Santa Clara County Judge Aaron Persky was voted out in Northern California, US, on Tuesday.

Persky’s name hit global news when he gave Turner, who was convicted of sexual assaulting an unconscious woman outside a fraternity house, a short jail sentence instead of the maximum 14-year prison sentence. Turner was released for good behaviour just after three months.

Persky, who was also a graduate of Stanford University, reasoned that a longer sentence would have a “severe impact” on Turner, a Stanford scholarship athlete. His lenient sentencing, as well as his seeming concern for Turner’s future and disregard for the victim, angered many people and had sparked calls for his recall from office.

On Tuesday, local voters made that happened. Persky was recalled from office following an election.

County judges in California are elected. Activists had launched a petition to kick Persky out of office, garnering enough signatures to request for an election. In February, Santa Clara County supervisors had placed the issue on a June 5 ballot, allowing voters to decide if they wanted to oust him.

Persky was cleared of misconduct in 2016, and the California Commission on Judicial Performance ruled that he handled Turner’s rape case legally.

Brock Turner rape case

Persky gained international attention on his ruling in Turner’s rape case in 2016. The case involved Turner, a student athlete at Stanford University, who sexually penetrated an unconscious 22-year-old woman with his fingers. He was caught by two international students from Sweden, who said they intervened when they noticed the woman was unconscious.

Turner was found guilty of sexual penetration of an unconscious woman, sexual penetration of an intoxicated woman, and assault with intent to commit rape. Prosecutors recommended that he’d be given six years’ prison sentence.

Turner was kicked out of Stanford and had been banned from setting foot in the school premises since he attacked his victim. USA Swimming also prevented him from rejoining the team. His membership from the organisation expired at the end of 2014.