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A judge whose six-month sentence in the sexual assault case of a former Stanford swimmer has removed himself from handling criminal matters, but efforts to recall him remain.

Santa Clara County Judge Aaron Persky requested that he be assigned to civil court and that request was approved, the county's Presiding Judge Rise Pinchon said in a statement Thursday.

"While I firmly believe in Judge Persky's ability to serve in his current assignment, he has requested to be assigned to the civil division, in which he previously served," Pichon said. "Judge Persky believes the change will aid the public and the court by reducing the distractions that threaten to interfere with his ability to effectively discharge the duties of his current criminal assignment."

The move is not necessarily permanent. The assignment is subject to an annual review and takes effect Sept. 6.

Pichon said that another judge's desire to transfer to Palo Alto has made a quick swap with Persky possible. Normally such changes don't happen until a new year.

Persky ordered the six-month sentence for Brock Turner, a Dayton, Ohio, resident who had been attending Stanford on a swimming scholarship. The judge cited a probation department recommendation and the effect the conviction will have on Turner's life.


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