Cindy Hendrickson ’87, one of the six assistant district attorneys (DA) on DA Jeff Rosen’s executive team, announced her intent to run for Judge Aaron Persky’s seat last spring, before the recall was officially placed on the ballot.
Now, she is one of two candidates vying to replace the judge — and the only candidate who supports the recall itself.
Hendrickson, who has served as a prosecutor for 22 years and as a civil litigator for five years before that, said she believes it is “very likely” Persky will be removed from the bench — and that the recall is part of a greater system that already holds judges accountable.
“[Judges] should reflect the values of the society they serve,” Hendrickson said, “and as a judge, I will reflect the values of the society that I’m going to serve.”
As the June ballot approaches, Hendrickson has gained the endorsement of Michele Dauber, chairwoman of the Recall Persky campaign.
“Her record and experience is clearly far superior to that of Angela Storey — Cindy is just better qualified,” Dauber said in an email statement about her support for Hendrickson. “I believe that Cindy is a better candidate than Judge Persky based on her record and her values, completely apart from the Brock Turner case.”
Part of that record includes her various roles in the DA’s office — where she has served as a line deputy and in management, specializing in handling cases of domestic violence, elder abuse and sexual assault — experiences that Hendrickson says have prepared her to serve as a judge.
“It has always been part of my job to be fair and objective in evaluating cases,” Hendrickson said. “As the DA, once you become convinced that the evidence paints a certain picture, you may advocate for that position, but in terms of evaluating a case every step along the way, you have an absolute obligation to be fair to the defendant and be objective in your evaluation of the evidence.”
Hendrickson, who attended law school at UCLA following her Stanford undergraduate education, began her campaign by framing her candidacy as offering the people of Santa Clara County a choice — at that time, a choice other than Persky. Now, the people of Santa Clara County have three choices: retain Persky, install Hendrickson or install Storey.
While Hendrickson says she still sees herself as the strongest choice of the three, she thinks the fact that voters have such choice in the first place is good for democracy.
“If you want to have a say in who’s going to be on your bench, who’s going to be making decisions that could affect your life,” Hendrickson said, “you need to go to the ballot box or submit a ballot on June 5, because that’s your chance.”