The effort to recall Orange County Superior Court Judge M. Marc Kelly for supposedly going light with his sentence to a child molester has failed.
Bryan Scott, the Irvine resident who spearheaded the recall campaign, is not commenting, but his partner in the effort, Patricia Wenskunas of Irvine-based Crime Survivors Inc., issued a statement confirming the defeat.
“While this first attempt at the recall of Judge Kelly for his extreme ruling against the safety of our children fell short of receiving enough funds to collect over 100,000 signatures, the issue remains at the forefront of the minds of tens of thousands of parents and families who believe he must and will be held accountable. As always, we will continue our efforts to support crime survivors and be the voice for those who can’t speak for themselves.”
Registrar of Voters Neal Kelley also confirmed the organizers failed to make Friday’s 5 p.m. deadline to turn in at least 90,829 valid signatures from Orange County voters to qualify the recall for the June 7 presidential primary ballot.
The case at the center of the recall campaign concerned 20-year-old Kevin Jonas Rojano-Nieto, who sexually assaulted a 3-year-old girl relative in their Santa Ana garage. The Orange County District Attorney’s office says state law mandated a sentence of 25 years to life in prison, but Kelly imposed a 10-year sentence on April 3. The OCDA is appealing.
Scott has said it was not so much the lack of prison time but Kelly’s justification for the sentence that sparked the recall campaign. The judge said Rojano-Nieto “inexplicably became sexually aroused but did not appear to consciously intend to harm (the victim) when he sexually assaulted her. … There was no violence or callous disregard for (the victim’s) well-being.”