“I can’t be here, I’m so upset,” one prospective juror reportedly told Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky on Wednesday.
“I can’t believe what you did,” said another.
These two individuals were among several prospective jurors who reportedly refused to serve under Persky in a misdemeanor stolen property case.
Persky is the judge who presided over Brock Turner’s sentencing for sexual assault.
Persky has faced mounting opposition since sentencing Turner to six months in county jail. Turner, an ex-Stanford swimmer convicted of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman last year, was also ordered to register as a sex offender.
Over 1 million people have signed a petition calling for the judge’s removal from the bench over the “lenient” sentence.
“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,” the Change.org petition reads. “He also failed to send the message that sexual assault is against the law regardless of social class, race, gender or other factors.”
KPIX-TV’s legal analyst LaDoris Cordell said the jurors' refusal to serve under Persky could spell trouble for the court system.
"The significance is that if this were to continue, word gets out that, hey, if you don’t want to serve or don’t like a judge, just refuse to go in the courtroom, it could catch on and that would be bad," said Cordell. "We rely on our jurors in order to make the system work."