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Opinion

Readers React: Judge Persky was recalled because of outrage over a separate justice system for the privileged

Recall of judge in Stanford swimmer sex assault case is first since 1932
Judge Aaron Persky at a news conference in Palo Alto on May 8.
(Anda Chu / TNS)

To the editor: The recall of Santa Clara Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky involved more than just a debate on how harshly sex offenders should be punished.

Less mention has been made of a far more deleterious effect on our democracy: the two-tiered justice system. This case gave full view to the justifiably contemptuous view of justice expressed by the phrase “money walks.”

In this case, a member of a very privileged social class was given an exceedingly light sentence. Similarly, major banks have engaged in fraudulent behavior that has cost billions of dollars with no criminal penalties, while individuals in non-privileged groups have been given criminal records and harsh sentences for lesser offenses.

Here, a Stanford University athlete was given an extremely light sentence for a serious felony, and the judge’s rationale could have been applied to every member of that student’s privileged class. The accumulated outrage over this aspect of our justice system was an important factor in the success of the recall.

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Norman Rodewald, Moorpark

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