When it’s white, it’s right….. or NOT!
Judge Aaron Persky made headlines for all the wrong reasons last month after he sentenced Stanford rapist Brock Turner to probation and a pathetic six months in county jail for raping an unconscious woman. Now he’s making headlines again for sentencing Raul Ramirez, a 32-year-old immigrant from El Salvador who sexually assaulted his female roommate in a case very similar to Turner’s, to three years in state prison.
The sentence was part of a plea agreement overseen by the judge and signed in March, but which only became public knowledge recently. While this sentence is standard given the crime, Persky was immediately criticized for being lenient with Turner and ignoring the minimum of two years in state prison prescribed by law, while treating this very similar case in the way it should be treated.
“What’s happened with Mr Ramirez is standard,” said Alexander Cross, a defense attorney who briefly represented Ramirez when his “very poor” family could afford a private lawyer. “The anomaly is the Stanford case.”
Like Turner, Raul Ramirez had no criminal record before he was convicted. Both women were assaulted in a similar manner, but unlike Turner, Ramirez admitted to the assault and told responding officers that he “knew what he did was wrong and he wanted to say sorry.” When two students caught Turner on top of the unconscious woman he made a run for it, and when questioned by police, claimed it was consensual.
Bail for Ramirez was set at $200,000, higher than the $150,000 bail set for Turner.
At some point, we have to point out that Ramirez is an immigrant rather than a star college swimmer. Critics accuse Persky, a former Stanford athlete himself, of “bending over backwards” to make an exception for Turner.
They say that while Ramirez got the sentence he deserves, Persky could have negotiated a lesser sentence for Ramirez, as he did with Turner. They point out that Persky could have approved or helped negotiate a plea in which Ramirez was only guilty of one lesser charge, assault with intent to commit rape, and dropped the rape charges, as was the case with Turner.
Michele Landis Dauber, a Stanford professor leading a campaign to get Persky removed, said that this is further proof that the judge needs to go. He added that the vast differences in how Persky treated two very similar cases “shows that Turner got consideration not available to other defendants who aren’t as privileged.”
Cross said that this is a fundamental problem with the court system. He argues that privileged defendants with private attorneys can articulate ways in which a prison sentence would have a severe impact on them and generally get lesser sentences than working class people who rely on public defenders.
Both Turner’s mother and father submitted letters to the court pleading for a lighter sentence because of the impact jail would have on their son. It also recently emerged that a separate judge sentenced another college frat guy, John P. Enochs, to just one year of probation after being accused of two rapes.