SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- Voters have recalled Judge Aaron Persky from office after he sentenced a former Stanford University swimmer convicted of sexual assault to a short jail sentence instead of prison.
Persky sentenced Brock Turner in June 2016 to six months in jail instead of prison after he was convicted of sexually assaulting a woman outside a fraternity house. The recall campaign launched shortly afterward.
The campaign gained national prominence after the victim's powerful courtroom statement lamenting her treatment by the judicial system was circulated widely online.
Turner ultimately was released after 3 months, in September of 2016, because of good behavior.
The recall effort was spearheaded by Stanford law professor Michelle Dauber. Several rallies were held, and an estimated $1 million in campaign donations were raised.
The Recall Persky Campaign issued the following statement by Dauber.
"We are cautiously optimistic. Tonight's results mirror what we heard while we were out talking to voters. We are thankful for our supporters and every person who donated their time - it truly made a difference."
Judge Persky remained silent until a month ago when he spoke to reporters for the first time at a private residence in Palo Alto. He held a public rally on the plaza outside the County Government Center eight days before the election, surrounded by fellow judges from the Superior Court and District Attorney Jeff Rosen.
His side reportedly raised over $850,000, but part of that is in donated services. The pro-recall side included advocates for women, victims of sexual assault, and others demanding the judge be held accountable for his action. When asked why he remained silent for so long, Judge Persky told reporters that he considered it the job of judges to take criticism and to stand silent and independent.
Prof. Dauber said Judge Persky has been criticized for a number of decisions. "He issued a series of biased rulings in favor of very privileged perpetrators of sex crimes and violence against women, one of which was the Brock Turner case, which generated more complaints than any other judge in probably the history of the state," said Dauber. Judge Persky said he was unaware of complaints.
"When you step into a courtroom before a judge, you will expect, you will request, you will demand a judge who will follow the rule of law, who will tune out public opinion because they must," said Judge Persky.
FULL VIDEO: Aaron Persky speaks amid recall effort
Neither campaign is holding public gatherings on election night. ABC7 News has requested access for comment as the results come in, but so far, no commitment has been made.
Two names are on the ballot Election Day to succeed Judge Persky if the recall prevails. They are Cindy Hendrickson, an assistant district attorney in Santa Clara County, and Angela Storey, a civil attorney.
Under the state Constitution, the replacement would have 10 days to be sworn in as judge after certification of election. The unseated judge would be removed at that point.
Click here for more stories, photos, and video on Brock Turner.