“We plan to appeal,” Elizabeth Pipkin of McManis Faulkner said in an email. “We continue to have confidence in our reading of the constitution on the issues we presented to the court.”
Her statement comes a day after Kay Tsenin, a retired San Francisco Superior Court judge appointed to preside over the case, rejected arguments by Persky’s lawyers that a petition to recall Persky was invalid because it was submitted to the wrong governmental office.
The state elections code says Superior Court judges can be recalled via a submission to the county registrar’s office. But Persky’s lawyers contend that provision violates the California Constitution, and recalls must go through the Secretary of State’s Office.
Tsenin was skeptical of those arguments in a Monday hearing, and lifted a restraining order that had blocked critics from gathering signatures for the recall petition. On Thursday, she formally adopted her tentative ruling dismissing Persky’s legal challenge, finding “that the registrar of voters is the proper official to review and approve recall petition forms for recalls directed at Superior Court judges.”
Persky became engulfed in a nationwide controversy in June 2016 when he sentenced former Stanford University student Brock Turner to six months in jail for sexually assaulting an unconscious woman behind a dumpster.
Advocates for recalling the judge, led by Stanford Law professor Michele Dauber, have since pointed to a number of decisions they say show bias in favor of men accused of assaulting women. The recall effort formally got underway in June, and Dauber has said Persky’s legal efforts since then strengthen their arguments for why he should be booted.
“As Judge Tsenin properly found, there is literally nothing of merit in Judge Persky’s lawsuit. Clearly, he filed it to try to stall and delay and thwart the democratic process,” Dauber said in a statement Thursday. “The fact that he would engage in these kinds of shenanigans is just one more reason to recall him, frankly.”
Recall campaigners are hoping to gather enough signatures to hold a vote on Persky in county elections in June 2018.