Remember Brock Allen Turner? If you wish to refresh your memory, it was one of my better pieces of early 2016 (Yes, a shameless plug, but it was a comprehensive analysis) Briefly, In January 2015, during a party on the campus of Stanford University, 20-year-old Turner raped an unconscious young woman behind a dumpster. There was no doubt of his guilt, as two eyewitnesses pulled Turner off the woman and held him until police arrived. He was found guilty and could have been sentenced up to 14 years, based on the charges, but Judge Aaron Persky said he saw no reason to ruin young Turner’s life and sentenced him to only six months. Turner served 90 days in prison. Turner’s father, Dan Turner, argued against even that light sentence, saying what a shame it was that his son would not be able to eat steak during his time in prison, and that he should pay a price for a mere “20 minutes of action”.
The leniency of the sentence caused a public outcry and calls for Judge Persky to be replaced.
Today, Brock Turner is back in the news, more than one year after his release from jail on September 2nd, 2016, for he is now appealing the light sentence he was given! Why, and on what grounds? The grounds, apparently, are that Turner, who was guilty beyond a shadow of a doubt, claims he did not receive a fair trial. How so? Because of the exclusion of testimony by ‘character witnesses’ who vouched for his ability to swim well, his school performance, and his overall honesty. He also claims that since his victim was inebriated, he should not have been convicted.
Also at issue is the fact that the prosecutor made note of the fact that Turner had taken his victim ‘behind the dumpster’ to rape her, which is true, but Turner’s attorney now claims it implies that Turner was attempting to hide his nefarious activities, and that it implied ‘moral depravity’, as dumpsters are associated with garbage and filth. Well … wasn’t he, and isn’t he??? Call a spade a bloody shovel!
In a statement before his 2016 sentencing, Mr. Turner claimed that the sex was consensual, despite the fact that the victim was unconscious and could not have given consent.
Why is Turner appealing this conviceiont more than a year after being released from jail? I cannot say, but my best guess is that a) he and his ‘daddy’ want it off his record so that his bright and shining future will not be tarnished by “a brief 20 minutes of action”, and b) with two more years to serve on parole, he is getting tired of both having to meet with his parole officer and having to register every 90 days as a sex offender. Those things can put a damper on a guy’s social life, y’know.
What are the odds of his appeal being successful? Slim-to-none, by my best guess, but keep in mind a couple of things. Turner’s family are upscale and wealthy, and ours has become a society that seems to value wealth over morals. I always felt that Turner’s father greased some palms to get him such a ‘slap on the wrist’ sentence. I am puzzled, though, by Turner’s attorney for the appeal, Eric Multhaup, and his reason for being willing to take this case, putting his professional reputation on the line. Again … greased palms? I don’t know, but I do know that if I were an attorney, it would take a hell of a lot of grease to convince me to file this frivolous appeal.
Judge Persky’s future remains in question, as there is yet a movement to remove him from the bench based primarily on this case and his uber-lenient sentencing. According to Michele Dauber, Stanford law professor and the chairwoman of a committee to recall Judge Persky, “The problem with this case is not that Judge Persky was unfair to Brock Turner, it’s that Judge Persky was unfair to the victim.” The committee she is leading has so far collected 76,000 signatures of the 90,000 needed to get the issue of Persky’s removal on the June ballot.
I will return with updates as they happen … watch this space,