In a letter published in The Daily and in the Palo Alto Daily Post on April 9, reader Dane Bratz wrote that he is a 2013 Stanford grad who is “intimately familiar” with the “recklessness and impunity” of fraternity life. He supports the recall of Judge Persky in order to do to Persky what the judge has failed to do to others: to “signal to elite men that there are consequences for their actions.”
The implied premise is that Brock Turner’s loss of his sports career, college education, reputation and several months of his freedom, the enormous financial cost to his family, and his having to stand in line to register and to be posted on the internet with child molesters and rapists (which he is not) for the rest of his life are not “consequences” enough.
I am a 1969 Stanford law graduate who has practiced criminal law in the area for almost 50 years. I am “intimately familiar” with what passes for justice in our local courts. For an example, San Mateo County judges have sent eight men to prison for 25 years to life, which three of them are still serving, including 82-year-old R.A. for failing to notify that he was leaving the state, developmentally disabled V.R. for failing to register at a homeless shelter and artist R.N. for failing to register at a campsite. Why? Not because such trivial, victimless crimes warranted such extraordinary punishment, but to “signal” to other registrants not to act with such “recklessness and impunity.”
I want judges who strive to do justice in the individual case, not judges who see their job as curing social ills or sending messages to potential offenders who are not before them.
Judge Persky saw and heard all the witnesses in the Turner case. I have read the California Attorney General’s summary of their testimony, and I invite every person who wants to cast an educated vote to do the same. Ask me to send you a copy: email@example.com. Educated voters should also read what Judge Persky said at Turner’s sentencing, available on The Guardian’s website. In my opinion, the judge made a sound judgment as to which of the parties acted with just “recklessness” and which with “impunity” and imposed an appropriate punishment for the latter. It was not his job to clean up the drunken debauchery at the particular fraternity house that attracted all the witnesses to it.
Richard Such ’64 J.D. ’69