Judge Who Sentenced Brock Turner to Six Months For Rape Cleared of Misconduct

A petition calling for his removal from the bench was signed by millions, but a commission found that he did nothing wrong.

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The judge who sentenced former Stanford University swimmer Brock Turner to six months in jail in a rape case—setting off a storm of outrage over the lenient sentence—did nothing wrong when he made that decision, a California judicial panel decided today. 

The panel said that it found no "clear or convincing evidence" that Santa Clara County Superior Court judge Aaron Persky showed bias or abuse of authority when he handed down the light sentence, according to the Huffington Post. "[T]he sentence was within the parameters set by law and was therefore within the judge's discretion," the panel wrote in its report. The panel also stressed that wasn't up to them to decide if six months was a proper sentence, but only to determine if Persky had clearly abused his authority. 

Prosecutors had asked for a six-year sentence for Turner, who was found guilty of "assault with intent to commit rape and penetration of an intoxicated or unconscious person" after bystanders caught him in 2015 assaulting a woman behind a trash bin outside of a fraternity party. He was facing a potential maximum of 14 years in prison. 

At the time of the sentencing, the judge cited the remorse Turner had shown, dozens of letters vouching for his good character, and concern that a long prison sentence could have a "severe impact" on him in making his decision. As the outrage over that sentence spread, more than a million people signed a petition calling for Persky to resign his judgeship. The situation grew more complicated when Persky's decisions in other cases were called into question. 

Turner was released from jail early for good behavior after serving only three months of his sentence. The 21-year-old is now officially registered as a sex offender in his home state of Ohio. 

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