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Aaron Persky, the judge who handed down an extremely lenient six-month jail sentence to 20-year-old Brock Turner in the now infamous Stanford rape case, has given a much harsher sentence to a 32-year-old El Salvadoran immigrant in a similar case. Raul Ramirez admitted to sexually assaulting his roommate when police arrived to the scene in November 2014, The Guardian reports.
Judge Persky presided over the Ramirez case, overseeing negotiations for a plea deal which gave Ramirez a three-year prison sentence (the minimum required by law for Ramirez's conviction: sexual penetration by force). When Ramirez was arrested, Persky set his bail at $200,000, according to The Guardian. This stands in contrast to the six months of jail time and $150,000 bail the judge issued for Turner.
The disparity in the bail amounts and the sentences are despite the fact that the Ramirez case had many similarities to Turner's, The Guardian further reported. Both men were accused and convicted of sexual assault crimes, and neither of them had prior convictions for serious felonies.
Key differences between the crimes in the Ramirez case versus Turner's are that Ramirez was given a plea deal, the negotiations for which Persky oversaw, where he plead guilty to sexual penetration by force. Turner only admitted to using his hands to consensually penetrate the victim in his case, whereas Ramirez admitted to and was convicted of forcibly penetrating his roommate using his fingers, The Guardian reports.
Critics of Persky's decision to make an exception and give a light sentence in the Turner case are disturbed by the harsher sentence given to Ramirez, not because they feel Ramirez deserved a lighter sentence, but because they see the Ramirez case as further evidence that Persky showed a bias that favored Turner.
The Stanford professor who is leading the effort to have Persky recalled in light of the Turner decision, Michele Landis Dauber, told The Guardian that the decision in the Ramirez case:
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 further stated that Ramirez's three-year sentence "shows that Turner got consideration not available to other defendants who aren’t as privileged."
The Santa Clara District Attorney's office did not immediately reply to Complex's request for comment.