Tag Archive: Brock Turner


 

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Aaron Persky, the California judge who drew national attention in 2016 when he sentenced Stanford student Brock Turner to just six months in jail for sexually assaulting an unconscious woman, was recalled on Tuesday.  He is the first judge recalled in California in more than 80 years.  Almost 60% of voters were in favor of removing Judge Persky from the Santa Clara County Superior Court, where he had served since 2003. Prosecutor Cindy Hendrickson was elected to replace him.

The recall stemmed from the case of Brock Turner, who was caught sexually assaulting a woman near a dumpster in 2015 after she had blacked out from drinking. In 2016, a jury found the 20 year old Stanford swimmer guilty on all three felony charges against him: sexual penetration with a foreign object of an intoxicated person, sexual penetration with a foreign object of an unconscious person, and intent to commit rape.

The maximum sentence in Turner’s case was 14 years but Judge Persky had sentenced him to six months.  During sentencing Judge Persky said he thought Mr. Turner would “not be a danger to others” and expressed concern that “a prison sentence would have a severe impact” on him.  His decision along with the fact that he did not mention the impact of the assault on the victim, outraged victims’ advocates nationally.

Turner served only three months before being released in September 2016.   He also received three years of probation and was required to register as a sex offender.  Stanford forced him to withdraw and barred him from campus.  His victim, known publicly only as Emily Doe, described her suffering in a more than 7,000-word statement that went viral soon after it was published.  The sentence and resulting backlash, prompted California lawmakers to change the law. Within four months, they enacted mandatory minimum sentences in sexual assault cases and closed a loophole in which penetrative sexual assault could be punished less harshly if the victim was too intoxicated to physically resist.

Talk of a recall campaign began immediately after he handed down his sentence.   The recall campaign was led by Ms. Dauber, whose daughter is friends with Emily Doe — had collected enough signatures to put the question on the ballot.  In a statement, Judge Persky said he had a legal and professional responsibility to consider alternatives to imprisonment for first-time offenders.  LaDoris Cordell, a retired judge and a spokeswoman for Judge Persky, called the recall an attack on judicial independence and said it had “encouraged people to think of judges as no more than politicians.”

Among the effort’s most prominent backers were Anita Hill and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York.  Ms. Dauber said the results “demonstrated that violence against women is a voting issue,” and that “if candidates want the votes of progressive Democratic women, they will have to take this issue seriously.”

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Former Stanford swimmer Brock Turner was sentenced Thursday to six months in county jail and three years’ probation for the sexual assault of an unconscious intoxicated woman behind a dumpster on campus.

Turner, once an Olympic hopeful was arrested in the early morning hours of Jan. 18, 2015 after two Stanford graduate students who were bicycling by the Kappa Alpha fraternity saw him on the ground, thrusting his hips atop an unconscious, partially clothed woman. The students called police and chased down Turner.

The victim had attended a frat party on campus with her younger sister.  The two were separated and the victim became intoxicated to the point of blacking out.  She woke up in the hospital the next morning with no memory of what happened, learning she had been the victim of sexual assault at the hospital.

Turner had a blood-alcohol level that was twice the legal limit, the San Jose Mercury News reported.  The three-time All American high school swimmer from Dayton, Ohio, withdrew from Stanford after his arrest.  Turner was convicted in March of three felony counts.

Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky said he weighed Turner’s character, lack of criminal history and remorsefulness in determining to bypass the heavier penalty of six years in state prison requested by prosecutors.  The judge said he opted for just a few months in jail because he argued that a prison sentence would “have a severe impact on Turner.”   With good behavior, Turner, 20, is expected to serve three months in county jail. He will have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life and complete a sex offender management program.

After Thursday’s hearing, District Attorney Jeff Rosen said Turner should have been sent to prison for sexual assault. “The punishment does not fit the crime,” Rosen said in a statement after the sentence was announced Thursday. “The sentence does not factor in the true seriousness of this sexual assault, or the victim’s ongoing trauma. Campus rape is no different than off-campus rape. Rape is rape.”

Probation department officials recommended six months in county jail and said the probation officer weighed the fact that Turner had surrendered a hard earned swimming scholarship.  Turner requested a four-month county jail term; the maximum sentence he could have gotten was 14 years in state prison.  After the hearing, Turner’s attorneys notified the court they plan to appeal the conviction.

Unsurprisingly, the internet was set ablaze with people outraged at the leniency of his sentence.  In the few days since Turner was sentenced, much of the internet’s chatter has converged on a heart-wrenching statement his victim read to him in court. It’s a devastating account of the survivor’s revictimization during the trial, a powerful indictment of the lighter sentences imposed on white, wealthy sex criminals, and a haunting depiction of how rape culture exerts its influence on college campuses and in courts of law. The victim provided her statement to BuzzFeed News; the page been viewed more than 4 million times since Friday afternoon.  Many are calling it a setback for the movement to take campus rape seriously and feel it will seriously hinder future victims from coming forward.