PALO ALTO, Calif. (KGO) --The Santa Clara County judge facing back lash for sentencing a former Stanford swimmer to six months in jail after he was convicted of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman has recused himself from hearing all criminal cases starting next month.
Judge Aaron Persky asked to be moved out of Santa Clara County's criminal division and only preside over civil cases.
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It's a rare but allowable move, according to the county's presiding judge.
The Superior Court of California, County of Santa Clara issued a statement on behalf of Presiding Judge Ris Jones Pichon saying: "While I firmly believe in Judge Persky's ability to serve in his current assignment, he has requested to be assigned to the civil division, in which he previously served. Judge Perky believes the change will aid the public and the court by reducing the distractions that threaten to interfere with his ability to effectively discharge the duties of his current criminal assignment. A reassignment is possible due to the request of another judge to relocate to Palo Alto. Although the Presiding Judge normally implements assignment changes in January of each year, when two judges simply want to swap assignments for which they are both eminently qualified, there is no reason to delay implementation of a change they both desire."
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Persky's request was also granted because another judge asked for a transfer to Palo Alto. "We're concerned because it's a temporary transfer," Michele Dauber said.
Dauber is a Stanford professor of law and spearheading the campaign to recall Persky.
Brock Turner is due out of Santa Clara County's main jail next week and Persky will start hearing civil cases a few days later in San Jose.
Dauber accuses Persky of having a bias and questions his decision making. "Women come to civil court all the time for sexual harassment trials, women sue their employers for sexual harassment, we don't want judge Persky presiding over those cases," Dauber said.
Activists are pushing to qualify a recall vote in November of next year, to have Persky removed from the Santa Clara County bench.
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