The Honorable Aaron Persky

Santa Clara County Superior Court, Department recalled

Biography

The Hon. Aaron Persky was a judge for the Superior Court of Santa Clara County in California. He was appointed to the bench by former Governor Gray Davis in 2003, filling a vacancy created by the elevation of the Hon. Conrad Rushing (Ret.) to the Sixth District of the California Courts of Appeal. Persky was recalled from the bench on June 5, 2018.

Persky earned a bachelor’s degree in international relations from Stanford University in 1984. He then continued his studies there, completing a master’s degree in international policy studies in 1985. Persky received his J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law in 1990.

Prior to his appointment to the bench, Persky served as a deputy district attorney with the Office of the District Attorney of Santa Clara County from 1997 to 2003. During his tenure there, he prosecuted criminal cases, which included violent sex crimes and hate crimes. He also prosecuted juvenile offenders as a member of the Juvenile Wards Team. Before that, he worked as an associate for Morrison and Foerster for five years, where he was a civil litigator for large corporations.

He is a recipient of the Civil Rights Leadership Award from the California Association of Human Relations Organizations. He was also given the Wiley Manuel Pro Bono Award from the California Bar Association.

Persky has served on the executive committee of the Support Network for Battered Women as well as the Santa Clara County Network for a Hate-Free Community.

He acquired international attention after his ruling in People v. Turner, wherein he sentenced Brock Turner to six months in jail for the sexual assault and attempted rape of an unconscious woman. This ruling sparked a successful recall campaign, with supporters arguing that the sentence was too lenient. Although this was the first successful judicial recall in California since 1932, the California Commission on Judicial Performance ruled that Persky had not acted inappropriately.

Persky grew up in San Francisco, California. His father was a psychiatrist and his mother was a French teacher.