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Three prominent political consultants have just joined an effort to remove the judge who sentenced a former Stanford University swimmer to six months in jail for the sexual assault of an unconscious woman.

Media consultant Joe Trippi, campaign strategist John Shallman, and pollster Paul Maslin all joined The Recall Judge Aaron Persky campaign Friday, the Chicago Tribune reported. They have all vowed to help obtain the signatures and votes necessary to remove Persky, a Santa Clara jurist, from the bench next year.

On Tuesday, just five days after sentencing Turner, 20, Persky was re-elected  in an uncontested election. Persky has drawn heavy criticism for handing the lenient six month sentence. Prosecutors had asked that Brock receive six years in prison for the three felony convictions that carried a maximum sentence of 14 years.

Persky explained his arrival at the six month sentence by citing Turner’s lack of a criminal record and how the conviction would impact his life. Turner will actually serve only three months because he’s scheduled to be released Sept. 2.

Shallman, who launched a campaign requiring colleges and universities to apply a “yes means yes” standard in sexual misconduct cases, said he was disturbed by Persky’s leniency in the case.

“I have daughters in college myself, and I find it deeply disturbing that a judge like Persky could let a campus predator like Turner off with barely a slap on the wrist,” Shallman said. “Justice is supposed to be blind —not stupid.”

The campaign has also attracted a group of California lawmakers who have joined women’s rights advocates in asking the Commission on Judicial Performance, the California agency that investigates complaints of judicial misconduct, to investigate and discipline Persky for what they allege was misconduct in sentencing Turner.

The lawmakers are also seeking to have District Attorney Jeff Rosen ask an appeals court to overturn the sentence. Prosecutors have argued, however, that they don’t believe Persky’s decision can be appealed because it was “authorized by law and was made by applying the correct standards.”

Persky’s detractors are adamant that he needs to be replaced.

“His statements during the sentencing show that he does not understand sexual violence. He does not understand violence against women,” said Stanford law professor Michele Dauber, who launched the recall campaign. “And so we are going to recall him, and we’re going to replace him with someone who does.”

A petition seeking Persky’s removal has nearly 1.2 million signatures, and he’s facing some other difficulties:

Turner is reportedly expected to be released after three months and is being segregated from the general jail population for safety reasons.


Rick Sarlat |