The California judge who ignited national outrage for handing a lenient six-month jail sentence to Brock Turner -- a former Stanford University swimmer convicted of sexually assaulting an unconscious Stanford student -- is now out of a job.
His ouster came with some irony. The group pushing for his removal was led by a Sanford law professor Michele Dauber, reported the San Francisco Chronicle, and he will be replaced by a Stanford grad, Cindy Hendrickson.
Who is Cindy Hendrickson?
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Charlotte Observer
Hendrickson summed up her candidacy for Santa Clara County Super Court Judge in a May 21 Facebook post, calling herself "a strong alternative" to Persky.
The post did not mention the Brock Turner case, but noted that Hendrickson's two decades working as an assistant district attorney "led to the imprisonment of numerous child molesters and rapists for life."
"Santa Clara County needs judges who reflect the values of the community," she wrote. "There needs to be no doubt that the laws apply fairly to all. In my courtroom, everyone will feel respected and heard."
Hendrickson's experience won her many endorsements before the election, with PaloAltoOnline calling her "an easy choice" for her 23 years experience with the DA's Office and for her work with the department's Family Violence Unit.
A lesser known tidbit on her resume: Hendrickson had clerkships with famed Civil Rights attorney Johnnie L. Cochran, who defended O.J. Simpson in the murder trial of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson.
The recall victory was called "another #MeToo win" by Fortune.com, which reported women strongly supported the recall.
Hendrickson told the Palo Alto Daily Post that she is "drawn to cases with vulnerable victims," including victims of sexual assault and domestic violence.
In a biography posted on CrowdPAC.com, Hendrickson said she has an "informed" view on bias against minorities, having grown up in a multiracial family with 11 children. The family's six biological and five adopted children included one who is transgender and another who is LGBTQ, reported the Palo Alto Daily Post.
Her parents were both public servants in Alexandria, Virginia, she told CrowdPAC.com, and they struggled at times to pay the bills.
"The task wasn't always easy either socially or financially given the large number of children and the cultural norms in Alexandria, Virginia in the 1960's and 70's," Hendrickson said in the column. "So I grew accustomed at an early age to the idea that doing the right thing is more important than being liked or comfortable, and that serving others is the highest calling."
The Brock Turner case
The 2016 Brock Turner case clearly propelled Hendrickson into office, despite the fact she never addressed it specifically, media outlets report.
Turner was convicted of felony sex crimes in March 2016 for sexually assaulting a woman who had passed out after a fraternity party. He could have faced up to 14 years in prison. However, Persky sentenced Turner to only six months in jail and he was released after serving three months behind bars, reported the Associated Press.
Turner's victim read a statement in court that was then shared by millions, leading to widespread awareness of the case and the sentence.
The Wall Street Journal called the case and its outcome a "flashpoint in the discussion over sexual assault on college campuses." The debate only intensified in 2017 as the #MeToo movement gained momentum and victims began going public against high profile men in countless sexual assault cases.
The Wall Street Journal says the controversy "divided the local legal community." However, it went beyond that in the district itself, according to California media outlets.
A recent report in the Los Angeles Times noted the case had "fractured long-term friendships, divided the liberal Democratic community of Santa Clara County and pitted feminists against feminists."
Both Persky and Hendrickson received threats, the Times reported, and vandals attacked signs on both sides of the recall effort.