In what just might be the worst comparison of all time, the judge who sentenced former Stanford student and convicted rapist Brock Turner to just six months in jail likened the decision to the desegregation of schools in 1954, Buzzfeed reports. Santa Clara County Superior Court judge Aaron Persky hit back at criticisms of his relaxed sentencing at a press conference in Palo Alto. "Brown v. Board of Education was unpopular in many states," he said, referring to the landmark class action suit that would lead to the Supreme Court ruling that separating public schools for black and white students was unconstitutional. "Imagine for a moment if those federal judges had been faced with judicial recall in the face of that unpopularity. We ask judges to follow the rule of law, not the rule of public opinion."
Currently, Persky is facing a county vote that will determine his future as superior court judge on June 5, due largely in part to the outrageously lenient sentence he handed down to Turner. "Persky has repeatedly abused his discretion on behalf of abusers," said Stanford Law School Professor Michele Dauber. "As a result, voters in this county have lost confidence in his ability to be fair." Dauber also said Persky has shown a "pattern of bias in favor of privileged men," which is precisely why she called his Brown v. Board comparison "absurd." Obviously, a case that would go on to dismantle a racist institutional practice and one that saw a convicted rapist serve barely any time are vastly different.
"In Brown, the Supreme Court bravely ruled with the powerless against the powerful. In Brock Turner's case, Persky did the exact opposite," she said. In 2016, Turner was charged with three counts of felony sexual assault after raping a female student while she was unconscious. He was sentenced to six months in jail, but would end up only serving three of those months. While he didn't serve much time for his crime, he's been immortalized in a criminal justice textbook next to the definition of the word "rape."