SANTA ANA (CBSLA.com) — Orange County Superior Court Judge M. Marc Kelly is at the center of a firestorm after he cut the sentence of a convicted child rapist.
Last week, Kelly reduced the sentence of a convicted rapist who sexually assaulted and sodomized a 3-year-old family member from a mandatory term of 25 years to life to 10 years.
Kelly ruled the life sentence would be "cruel and unusual punishment." He raised more eyebrows when he suggested the victim looked "happy and healthy" while testifying and that she bore no ill affects of the crime. Kelly also intimated the defendant wasn't trying to harm the girl.
Kevin Rojano's reduced sentence touched off a firestorm on Facebook. On Thursday, several Orange County supervisors joined the call asking Kelly to step down.
KCAL9's Stacey Butler reports Kelly has been accused of going light on at least one other high-profile case.
Kelly reportedly went against the wishes of prosecutors when he ignored a prosecution request and gave a sex offender probation instead of jail time.
CHP Lt. Stephen Robert Deck, then 51, was arrested in 2006 during a Laguna Beach sting to catch child predators. When he was sentenced in 2010, Deck said he was remorseful. The judge, meanwhile, said because Deck was formerly involved in law enforcement, his past should account for something.
Even though a jury found Deck guilty of engaging in explicit sexual conversations with young girls online and attempting to meet a 13-year-old for sex, the judge declined to give prosecutors what they were asking for: a maximum sentence of four years in state prison.
Kelly required Deck to serve probation and register as a sex offender on Megan's Law database. According to the Orange County Register, Deck's conviction was overturned in October.
Bryan Scott, a concerned father, is leading the campaign against Kelly on Facebook,
"If he's gonna do it this time," says Scott, "and he did it in 2010, when is he going to do it again? And can he do it again? Will we allow him to do it again? I say no."
The judge's opponents need 90,000 signatures from registered Orange County voters to put a recall on the ballot.
The judge has not made a statement since the ruling last week.
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