Letters to the editor: against the Persky recall

June 4, 2018, 1:17 a.m.
I am writing to strongly oppose the recall of Judge Aaron Persky.
As a civil and criminal defense litigator with over 35 years of experience, I have appeared before Judge Persky in a number of cases and recognize that he is an honest jurist and has integrity.  While I don’t always agree with his decisions, I recognize them to be made with great thought to the parties, the facts presented and the application of the law.  Judge Persky always treats the parties and litigants in his courtroom with dignity and courtesy of an exemplary level.  In the case of Brock Turner, Judge Persky had the difficult task of weighing in on the recommendations argued by the Deputy District Attorney, Defense Counsel and the Probation Department and in the end, he followed the law and made the courageous decision that he did.
I hope that you will join me, Congresswomen Zoe Lofgren and Anna Eshoo, District Attorney Jeff Rosen, Public Defender Molly O’Neal and many others in supporting this exceptional judge. Vote No on the recall.
Calvin S. Louie
Louie & Kitsuse Law
San Jose
The campaign to recall Judge Aaron Persky based on one unpopular ruling is wrong. This misguided campaign was launched by Michele Dauber, a family friend of the victim in the Brock Turner case. While Ms. Dauber is a law professor at Stanford, she has never been licensed to practice law.
Many people found Turner’s sentence to be too lenient. He was a college student without a criminal record, and there were extenuating circumstances surrounding the crime, all of which militate toward leniency. But the recall procedure is not a public referendum on the wisdom of any particular criminal sentence. Recall should be reserved for removing a judge who has been guilty of misconduct, not a poll on whether people like one of his or her decisions, without knowing all the facts of each case.
A judge should not be removed from the bench because he imposed a lawful sentence that comported with the recommendation of a female probation officer; following it cannot be grounds for a recall. The law has since been changed. There’s no reason to remove a judge who followed the law in effect at the time.
In every case, criminal and civil, one side is not happy; often both sides are not satisfied. We cannot fire the judge every time someone is unhappy with a decision. One of the bedrocks of our government is judicial independence. Judges are called upon to make decisions on controversial issues and to make rulings about unpopular parties. Many important judicial decisions on civil rights and other constitutional issues were not always popular with every community. We have a nation of laws, but that is threatened when we send a message to judges that they had better make sure their decision will be popular with the public, for fear some other rabble-rouser will petition to remove them from the bench.
A host of appellate justices and trial judges, both current and retired, and many law professors have opposed the recall. Recall proponents have made numerous false statements that Judge Persky showed a pattern of bias in cases. There is no evidence of that. The Commission on Judicial Performance and two independent organizations found these charges were not true.
I urge all of your readers not to get caught up in an emotional statement about crimes against women. Everybody is against crimes against women. Stop and think whether you want legal cases to be popularity contests or objective deliberations based on the law and the individual facts of each case. Join the many men and women who voted No on the recall.
Michael P. Quinlivan
San Jose

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