Once the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors officially placed Judge Aaron Persky’s recall on the June 5, 2018 ballot, Angela Storey, a civil attorney based in San Jose, entered the race to replace Persky in the event of a successful recall.
She will run for the position against prosecutor Cindy Hendrickson — even though Storey actually opposes the Persky recall effort.
“It’s an awkward position, I agree, but it just seems to me that the voters need the choice,” Storey said. “I think it’s important for our judiciary to have a broad range of judges who have specialities in different areas … having somebody who’s done civil, who has some knowledge of criminal, would be a benefit to the bench.”
Storey sees the potential recall as a slippery slope that could prompt judges to hand out harsher sentences in a system that some believe already disproportionately affects people of color.
Storey points to the California legislative changes — one that broadened the definition of rape and a second that imposed mandatory prison sentences for sexual assault under certain circumstances — resulting from the Brock Turner case as necessary changes to laws that were “wrong,” “antiquated” and “outside of what the community values.”
However, she doesn’t think Persky’s decision should be grounds for removal.
“Yes, judges are elected, they are accountable to their constituents,” Storey said. “But as a litigator, I’ve had judges rule against me dozens of times, and I’ve had judges who have made rulings that I thought were just downright wrong, but that’s not necessarily a reason to recall them.”
Storey says her opposition to the recall does not preclude her from supporting survivors of sexual assault — unlike what some critics have implied. She specifically pointed to a comment on a Palo Alto Weekly article attributed to the chairwoman of the Recall Persky campaign, Michele Dauber, which stated that, “Unlike [Storey], [Cindy Hendrickson] has a long career in public service, and she stands with survivors of sexual assault.”
“As a sexual assault survivor, I found that to be very insulting,” Storey said of the comment. “Just because you oppose the recall doesn’t mean that you don’t support these women … [Being assaulted] totally derailed my life, so I understand how traumatic it can be.”
Storey emphasized her view that the election should hinge on each candidate’s judicial capabilities, not on their personal views of the recall issue itself.
“[My candidacy is] more about what are my qualifications and who, in the event of the recall, would be a better, more appropriate judge,” Storey added.
When reached for comment, Dauber, who reiterated her support for Hendrickson, did not explicitly confirm that the comment was hers, but said, “Members of the Santa Clara County sexual assault and domestic violence advocacy community to whom I have spoken speak glowingly of Cindy’s warmth and strong advocacy for survivors, and that is what I was referring to when I said that Cindy stands with survivors of sexual assault.”
Storey, who graduated from UCLA and the Santa Clara University School of Law, worked as a trial attorney for Farmers Insurance before forming a law practice with her husband, Storey & Storey. While the majority of her experience has been with civil cases, where she has served on both plaintiff and defense sides of litigation, she has worked on some criminal defense cases with her husband at their practice.
Storey points to this range of experiences, in addition to her work as a private mediator and temporary judge volunteer for small claims court, as having given her the necessary temperament to be a good judge.
“I found [Storey] to always be professional and prepared,” said personal injury attorney Ram Fletcher, who, in addition to working with Storey in the Santa Clara County Trial Lawyers Association, has also tried cases with and against her. “She has really good temperament and is able to see both sides of the case. I think she’d be a real credit to the bench.”
Contact Alexa Philippou at aphil723 ‘at’ stanford.edu.