Persky plea deal backfires, San Mateo athlete fails to comply with domestic violence sentencing

PALO ALTO, Calif. (KGO) -- A College of San Mateo football player will spend weekends in jail for failing to comply with terms of his probation.

Keenan Smith had pleaded guilty to assaulting his girlfriend last year. The case has brought new attention to the judge in the case, Aaron Persky, who had sentenced Stanford swimmer Brock Turner to six months in jail for rape.

RELATED: Judge Persky under fire again over another athlete case

Critics of Persky say this case is another example of lenient treatment for a man who pleaded guilty to domestic violence and assault. Instead of a long jail term, he was allowed to do community service on the weekend, but he failed to appear twice.

Keenan Smith, 20, was accused of violating probation for failing to appear twice for community work duties that were part of a plea deal for assaulting his girlfriend last year.

He was ordered to spend eight weekends in jail as punishment, starting in December and then to complete a year's worth of domestic violence classes.

"I'll let Mr. Smith get the time done in a timely fashion," said Public Defender Gary Goodman. "It'll make it easier for him and then to start the domestic violence classes for the rehabilitation part of his sentence."

The case is in the spotlight because of Stanford law professor Michelle Dauber, who blames Persky for approving a plea deal that allows Smith to continue playing football at the college of San Mateo. Dauber is leading a recall campaign to unseat Perksy.

"Judge Persky clearly sent the message that football was more important than violence against women," said Dauber.

However, attorneys representing Smith say Dauber is wrong to point the finger at Persky for the plea deal.

RELATED: Controversy follows judge in Brock Turner case

"When the defense and the prosecution have an agreement, it's very rare that a judge will step in and what-we-call, bust the plea because that would cause court congestion," said Alternative Public Defender Barbara Muller. "So he did not bust the plea."

Dauber argues it was Persky who had the ultimate responsibility to ensure that the sentence was fair and appropriate. The plea deal, she said, did not take into account the violence against Smith's victims.

Police say Smith had knocked his girlfriend to the ground in a parking lot and punched a bystander unconscious when he tried to intervene.
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