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Judge Aaron Persky Cleared of Misconduct for Sentence in Brock Turner Sex Assault Case

SAN FRANCISCO — A California agency that oversees judicial discipline in the state ruled Monday that a judge committed no misconduct when he sentenced former Stanford University swimmer Brock Turner to six months in jail for sexually assaulting a young woman on campus.

The California Commission on Judicial Performance said there was no evidence that Santa Clara County Judge Aaron Persky displayed bias in handing down a sentence decried as too lenient by critics across the country.

Image: Judge Aaron Persky
Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky in June 27, 2011. Jason Doiy / AP, file

Related: Recall Effort Launched Against Judge Aaron Persky in Stanford Rape Case

"The commission has concluded that there is not clear and convincing evidence of bias, abuse of authority, or other basis to conclude that Judge Persky engaged in judicial misconduct warranting discipline," the 11-member panel concluded in its unsigned ruling.

The commission said it received thousands of complaints and petitions regarding Persky and the sentence.

Brock Turner registers as a sex offender, returns home as armed protesters gather 2:12

The petitions included complaints that Persky "displayed gender bias and failed to take sexual assault of women seriously," and showed favoritism to Turner because the judge was a former Stanford athlete as well.

Turner, 21, was released from jail in September after serving three months. He will be on probation for three years in his native Ohio and is a registered sex offender.

Related: Judge in Controversial Brock Turner Case Removed From New Sex Assault Case

Persky is still the target of a recall campaign.

Turner was convicted of assaulting the woman near a trash bin after they drank heavily at a fraternity party. The woman had passed out and Turner was on top of her when confronted by two graduate students passing by on bicycles. They chased and tackled him when he tried to flee, holding him on the ground until police arrived.

Image: Brock Turner
Brock Turner leaves the Santa Clara County Main Jail in San Jose, California, on Sept. 2. Dan Honda / Bay Area News Group via AP

A jury in March found Turner guilty of three felony sexual assault counts. Persky sentenced him to six months in jail, citing the "extraordinary circumstances" of Turner's youth, clean criminal record and other considerations in departing from the minimum sentence of two years in prison. Prosecutors had argued for six years.

Related: Brock Turner, Convicted Sexual Assault Offender, Released From Jail After 3 Months

Turner's case exploded on social media and ignited a debate about campus rape and the criminal justice system after the victim's 7,200-word letter that she read in the courtroom during sentencing was published online.

Brock Turner rape case: 1 million sign petition to remove judge 2:23