Target: Maria Berkenkotter, Chief Judge of Colorado’s 20th Judicial District
Goal: Recall Patrick Butler, the judge who spared a convicted rapist of any jail time.
Austin Wilkerson is the newest college student making headlines for raping a helpless girl and then getting an all-too-lenient prison sentence. Judge Patrick Butler, who found Wilkerson guilty, sentenced him to 20 years of probation along with two years at a county jail on a work program where he is allowed to leave during the day to go to school.
It seems nowadays that stories of a white college student raping a girl and then getting off without any serious punishment are becoming the common narrative for college rapists. A sentence such as this for somebody who was convicted of raping a defenseless victim should be much harsher. This is why it is time to recall Patrick Butler’s judicial position.
America remembers Brock Turner, the convicted rapist who got off with less than six months of actual jail time because the judge didn’t want to “ruin his life.” A similar logic was being applied in the case of Wilkerson, as the judge struggled with the idea of sending him to prison. “I’ve struggled, to be quite frank, with the idea of, ‘do I put him in prison?'” Butler said.
The answer to that question is yes, you put him in prison because he is a convicted rapist who just happened to make a tearful apology in the court. Demand that the state of Colorado revoke Butler’s position as a judge in the 20th Judicial District.
Dear Justice Berkenkotter,
Judge Patrick Butler resides under your jurisdiction in the 20th Judicial District of Colorado and has failed to fulfill his requirements of giving fair and just sentences to convicted criminals. By letting off a convicted rapist with two years in county and 20 years of probation because the rapist happened to give a tearful apology in front of the court, you are sending a clear message that rape is forgivable as long as you apologize well.
All the victim asked for in her statement to the court was to give Wilkerson the same mercy that he gave her on the night of the assault, which Judge Butler clearly did not do. It’s almost unbelievable that this would happen so soon after America went up in arms over Brock Turner’s similar lenient sentence. There was even a very popular petition to recall the judge that went easy on Turner, which is only predictive of the response that will come out of Wilkerson’s short sentence.
If Butler doesn’t get recalled or Wilkerson doesn’t receive a stronger sentence, which is impossible because of America’s double jeopardy law that prevents being tried for the same crime twice, then America is collectively going to lose their cool once again. It’s time that someone in this situation administers some true justice, and it seems the only way to do that is to revoke Judge Butler’s ability to be a justice in Colorado.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Boulder Sheriff’s Office