Critics say judge in Stanford rape case gave lenient sentence in domestic violence case involving football player

FILE - This June 27, 2011 file 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. The California judge has recused himself from making his first key decision in another sex case. The Mercury News reported Monday, Aug. 22, 2016 that Persky filed a statement saying that some people might doubt that he could be impartial. The judge is the target of a recall campaign after he sentenced a former Stanford swimmer to six months in jail for sexually assaulting an intoxicated woman. (Jason Doiy/The Recorder via AP, File)

PALO ALTO (KRON) — Once again, Stanford rape case judge Aaron Persky is at the center of another controversial case involving a college athlete.

Persky handed down the six-month sentence to Brock Turner, the Stanford swimmer and Oakwood native convicted of sexually assaulting an intoxicated woman.

And now, critics are saying a football player who pleaded guilty to domestic violence was given a lenient sentence.

Now, Persky’s critics accuse him of once again given preferential treatment to athletes, and they add it is another example of why Persky must be forced off the bench.

Critics of Judge Persky say, yet again, the Santa Clara County judge has given preferential treatment to an athlete, this time, involving a football player, No. 22 Keenan Smith, who plays for the College of San Mateo.

“Mr. Smith, in a public place, pushed his then girlfriend 10 times. According to the police report, he then grabbed her by the face and pushed her to the ground and was preparing to punch her,” Stanford law professor Michelle Dauber said.

Dauber is a Stanford law professor and activist involved in recalling Judge Persky. Persky gained international attention when he sentenced Stanford athlete Turner to a six-month sentence that amounted to three months after a jury found him guilty of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman following a frat party.

In Smith’s case, last March, Persky approved a sentencing deal of a domestic violence program and weekend work crew, while, Dauber says, allowing him to serve his sentence while working around his football schedule.

“I think that’s sending the message that football takes precedence over serving your sentence for violence against women. It’s absolutely the wrong message,” Dauber said.

Smith was back in court on Tuesday for missing several of his domestic violence sessions. Perksy is in another courtroom now, so a new judge decided Smith must now attend weekend jail.

“It’ll let Mr. Smith get the time done in a timely fashion,” Smith’s attorney Gary Goodman said. “It’ll make it easier for him, and then to start the domestic violence classes for the rehabilitation part of his sentence.”

Goodman also took issue with Dauber’s accusations that Smith received any type of preferential treatment as an athlete.

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

Dauber strongly disagreed, saying this is all about Persky and his record and that the bottom line is Persky has shown yet again, he is unfit for the bench. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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