Judge in Stanford rape case will stop hearing criminal cases

The judge who gave a six-month jail term to a former Stanford University swimmer convicted of sexually assaulting an unconscious young woman will stop hearing criminal cases, a court official said on Thursday, after a firestorm of criticism.

Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky has requested to be assigned to the court’s civil division, more than two months after imposing the controversial sentence on Brock Allen Turner, 20, for the January 2015 attack, Presiding Judge Risë Jones Pichon said in a statement.

“Judge Persky believes the change will aid the public and the court by reducing the distractions that threaten to interfere with his ability to effectively discharge the duties of his current criminal assignment,” Pichon said.