Palo Alto Judge Recuses Himself from Hearing Routine Child Porn Case (CA Penal Code 311)

Palo Alto Judge Recuses Himself from Hearing Routine Child Porn Case (CA Penal Code 311)

Rabin Nabizadeh
August 25, 2016

We all know the background of Judge Persky and the absurd effort by Stanford law professor Michele Dauber to recall Persky.  It is, indeed, difficult to find anyone who doesn’t have very strong emotions about this matter.  But emotions aside, any legal professional (professors not included) would attest that the sentencing decision was appropriate and in line with other similarly situated defendants.

But now, Judge Persky has opted to recuse himself from the case of Robert Plummer, a child porn case (CA Penal Code 311) a case Judge Persky has overseen since its inception, despite the fact that there appears to be no conflict whatsoever.  That this is a routine request by a defendant under CA Penal Code 17, to reduce a wobbler offense to a misdemeanor makes matters even more confusing.

As a background, many California crimes are wobblers in that defendants can be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony.  Possession of child pornography (CA PC 311) is one of those wobbler offenses.  The law allows the prosecutor an initial discretion to decide whether a particular offense is a felony or  a misdemeanor, however, this discretion is subject to judicial review.  A judge could, after hearing the facts of the case and evaluating the conduct as well as the defendant’s background deem the matter a misdemeanor at any stage.  Many defendants who are convicted of a felony use the mechanism under CA Penal Code 1203.3 and 1203.4 for a reduction to a misdemeanor and expungement of their record.  This remedy is limited and DOES NOT remove the lifetime registration requirement under CA Penal Code 290.

That said, Judge Persky’s decision to recuse himself from a routine request for a remedy we would all enjoy reveals the political pressure that the Brock Turner sentence has caused.

latest news

April 7, 2022
What Can I Expect After Being Arrested for a DUI in California?
A DUI charge is a severe criminal offense in California. DUI arrests take away a massive part of your driving privilege and could tarnish your reputation. Prior DUI convictions can inflict further damage to your career opportunities, driving rights, and immigration status. This blog will go over what you must expect when facing DUI charges. [...]
April 7, 2022
How Long Does a DUI Stay on Your Record in California?
DUI cases may stay on your criminal record forever. The United States sees DUI as a serious traffic crime punishable with grave penalties. Fighting your way through a DUI case is a challenging task. But, it doesn't mean you can't do anything about it. There are legal options available for you, depending on the nature [...]
April 6, 2022
Arrested for DUI in California: Am I Going to Lose My Job?
You've been charged with a DUI and have no idea what to do next. A lot of worries may run through your mind, including the fear of losing your job. Many aspects of a DUI charge can be overwhelming to a person, even to those familiar with California Law. In this blog, we will discuss [...]