Ever since the Stanford Rapist Brock Turner’s measly 6-month sentence (of which he’ll only serve 3) for sexually assaulting an unconscious woman, a petition has been underway to have Judge Aaron Persky removed from the bench. Now, thanks to some recent revelations, that petition has a little more steam.
During his trial, Turner admitted to digitally penetrating his unconscious victim but claimed the act was consensual. Even though the jury found him guilty of assault with intent to commit rape, the judge sentenced him to only six months in jail and probation.
But according to the Guardian, Persky wasn’t so lenient with Raul Ramirez, a 32-year-old immigrant from El Salvador who was convicted of sexually assaulting his roommate. Ramirez will be sentenced to 3 years in prison under a deal approved by Persky.
The three-year-prison sentence, part of a plea agreement signed in March, provides a sharp contrast to the outcome for Turner, a white 20-year-old former Stanford swimmer who Persky sentenced to probation and six months in county jail after he was convicted of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman.
The parallel cases, which include similar felony charges of sexual assault, could lend weight to what critics of Persky allege are biases in his courtroom. Others, however, argue that Persky’s actions were reasonable and that the divergence in punishments stems from broader disparities in the criminal justice system.
Ramirez was arrested at his home in Santa Clara County in November 2014 after his roommate called 911 to say that he had sexually assaulted her, according to police reports.
Ramirez gave the woman a “love letter” and later entered her bedroom and fingered her for about five to 10 minutes against her will, according to a police report, and stopped only when she started crying.
When police arrived, he admitted to the assault. “Ramirez knew what he did was wrong and he wanted to say sorry,” one officer wrote.
“What’s happened with Mr Ramirez is standard,” said Alexander Cross, who was briefly Ramirez’s attorney. “The anomaly is the Stanford case.”
Ramirez, who has used a Spanish interpreter in court, had his bail set at $200,000.
As the Guardian points out, since Ramirez pled guilty to a felony offense that does not have an option for probation or a lighter sentence, Persky’s sentencing options were limited.
But critics say that Persky, a former Stanford athlete himself, bent over backwards to make an exception in the Turner case, and that if he wanted to give Ramirez the same favorable treatment, the judge could have utilized his discretion and recommended a less harsh prosecution.
The petition to have Judge Aaron Persky removed from the bench can be found here.
Featured image: thebigsmoke.com