Aaron Persky, the judge who has been widely denounced for being too lenient in the sentencing of convicted rapist Brock Turner, has been removed from a new case at the request of prosecutors.
The removal was enacted under a special procedure which can be invoked by attorneys who believe that a judge is biased in the case, reports NBC News.
Judge Persky sentenced Turner to only six months in jail after he was convicted of raping an unconscious woman following a frat party. Turner has since gone on to become internationally famous for his crime.
A national petition has been launched to remove Persky from the bench. "Judge Persky failed to see that the fact that Brock Turner is a white male star athlete at a prestigious university does not entitle him to leniency," asserts the petition by the group Change.org. "He also failed to send the message that sexual assault is against the law regardless of social class, race, gender or other factors."
While some legal experts support the sentence handed down by Persky, others are wholly opposed. "There's no reason he should ever sit on a similar case," said Loyola Law School Professor Laurie Levenson, according to NBC News.
The case from which Persky has been removed involves a nurse who groped a patient who was under anesthesia.
Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen said that removing Persky from the case was "a rare and carefully considered step for our office,” NBC News reports. "In the future, we will evaluate each case on its own merits and decide if we should use our legal right to ask for another judge in order to protect public safety and pursue justice.”