Persky Gives More Time To Latino Man For Similar Crime

| by Sarah Zimmerman
Judge Aaron PerskyJudge Aaron Persky

The controversial judge who sentenced Stanford University swimmer Brock Turner to six months in jail is also presiding over a similar sexual assault case involving a 32-year-old Latino man. While the former received six months in jail, which is far less than the two year recommendation by U.S. law, the latter will face three years jail time for committing an eerily similar crime.

Judge Aaron Persky generated widespread criticism after sentencing Brock Turner to an unusually light six months' jail time after sexually assaulting an unconscious woman. According to the Independent, Judge Persky determined that six months imprisonment would be sufficient for this so-called "unusual" case, as prison would have a "severe impact" on Turner.

Critics slammed Persky's decision, saying that Turner is no less culpable due to his age, his level of intoxication, or his status as an elite swimmer at Stanford. A Stanford law professor is now leading the campaign to recall Persky's position on account of bias. New facts about an older and similar case involving a 32-year-old Latino man could provide the evidence the campaign needs to prove favoritism. 

Raul Ramirez, an immigrant from El Salvador who could not speak English, admitted to sexually assaulting his female roommate in November 2014. Despite its similarities to the Turner case, his bail was set $50,000 higher than the Stanford swimmer's. Like Turner, Ramirez had no previous criminal record. He pleaded guilty to sexual penetration by force and was given the minimum sentence of three years imprisonment. 

Critics believe that Persky, who was a former Stanford athlete, went out of his way to make an exception in the Turner case. If Persky was truly approaching the two cases equally, he could have negotiated a bargain in which Ramirez pleaded guilty to a lesser charge like he did in the Turner case. If the more serious charge was dropped, as it was in the Turner case, Ramirez could have avoided prison entirely, according to The Guardian. 

The discrepancy between the two cases allegedly provides the recall campaign further evidence of favoritism. “This just shows that our concern about Judge Persky’s ability to be unbiased is justified. We continue to think that he abused his discretion in giving an unduly lenient sentence to Turner,” said Michele Landis Dauber, the Stanford professor leading the recall.

Experts claim that Ramirez's race is why he received a harsher sentence. Although a review by the Press Association of 20 criminal cases handled by Persky concluded that his decisions were not influenced by racial bias, many disagree. According to The Guardian, research shows that black and Latino offenders are much more likely to face incarceration than white offenders in similar circumstances.  

“Whether due to implicit bias or other factors, race still plays a role in sentencing outcomes,” said Marc Mauer, executive director of a criminal justice reform group.

Sources: The Independent, The Guardian / Photo credit: YouTube via The Wrap

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