Stanford rape case Judge Aaron Persky accused of leniency for an athlete again

This June 27, 2011, photo shows Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky, who drew criticism for sentencing former Stanford University swimmer Brock Turner to only six months in jail for sexually assaulting an unconscious woman.

Jason Doiy/The Recorder via AP

PALO ALTO, California — A Bay Area judge slammed for his handling of a Stanford University swimmer’s sexual assault case, is once again accused of giving another star athlete a break.

The college football player was charged with attacking his girlfriend. Critics say Judge Aaron Persky gave him a plea deal that let him avoid jail and stay on the football team.

A new judge handed the student a stiffer penalty Tuesday.

College of San Mateo football star Keenan Smith will have to spend about eight weekends in jail and complete a year-long domestic violence class for assaulting his girlfriend.

It’s part of a tougher sentence by the new judge after the 20-year-old running back failed to comply with a more lenient sentence first handed down by Persky.

Stanford University law professor Michelle Dauber says Smith is another example of what she calls poor judgment by Persky.

Dauber said: “It’s clear now that another judge who does not share Judge Persky’s bias towards student-athletes has looked at this and now Mr. Smith is getting a stiffer penalty and is now being held accountable.”

She came across it while organizing a recall of Persky over his handling of the Brock Turner rape case.

“We just can’t have judges who think football is more important than violence against women,” she said.

Public Defender Gary Goodman says it was the District Attorney’s Office that first reduced Smith’s charges from a felony to a misdemeanor.

He said that Persky’s original sentence was part of a plea deal based in part on Smith’s age and lack of a criminal record.

“Judge Persky had nothing to do with this. It was the charging body, the executive, who determined what sentence he was going to get,” Goodman said.

He dismissed Dauber’s statements. “When Michelle Dauber discusses this, she doesn’t have a clue what she is talking about,” Goodman said.

Smith’s original sentence had him on a weekend work program and domestic violence classes, but he missed some days and was kicked out of the program.

His lawyers blamed his busy schedule including school, a night job as a security guard and out-of-town football games.

In addition to the weekend jail time, Smith will also have to contribute $50 a week for his domestic violence classes.