The uproar over Judge Persky’s lenient sentencing has resurfaced with his otherwise standard sentence in a routine domestic violence case. The mob now appears to put this fine judicial officer under the microscope in hope of generating more ridiculous headlines and over the top demands for a pound of flesh. It is yet another instance of society’s passions lead to out of whack sentencing guidelines and an overpopulated prisons.
It is worth while to examine the sentence in the Brock Turner matter. A judge is obligated to consider several factors in deciding a sentence. The first, obviously, is the conduct itself. What is important is that the sentence falls in line with other sentences for similar criminal offenses. Judge Persky did just that. Mr. Turner was sentenced to Felony probation and the automatic life time registration as a sex offender pursuant to CA PC 290. Judge Persky sentenced Mr. Turner to six months in county jail, in line with the recommendation from the probation department. What is CRUCIAL to understand is the probation department interviewed both Mr. Turner and the complaining witness in this case. They have assessed his risk factors and determined that he poses a very slight risk of reoffending.
The second factor that a sentencing court must look at is the defendant himself. Mr. Turner was, by all accounts, a very accomplished and decent young man. A Stanford student with Olympic aspirations, Mr. Turner was, indeed, a promising young man. His conduct does not completely negate that.
Still, the reaction from the public has been one of mindless emotional and one that seeks revenge rather than any sort of justice. Judge Persky is exactly the sort of judge we want on the bench. Anyone who tells you otherwise, is selling fear.