Turner case shows flaw in justice system
Former Stanford University student and champion swimmer, Brock Turner, was convicted back in March 2016 for sexually assaulting an unconscious woman behind a dumpster after a party in January of that year. His judge, Aaron Persky, sentenced Turner, on accounts of three sexual assault felonies, to six months of the potential 14-year sentence. Turner was released in September 2016, only three months into his six-month sentence, on account of “good behavior.”
His lawyer, Eric Multhaup, released a 172 page brief this past Friday that stated how Turner didn’t receive a fair trial and was sentenced unjustly for several reasons. Among those reasons were claims such as that he did not get a character witness brought to the stand to testify Turner’s character, swimming career, and academic performance.
According to The New York Times, about 60 pages also discuss primarily about how intoxicated the victim was on the night of the attack.
We believe that the intoxication level of the victim has nothing to do with Turner’s actions or should come to benefit Turner in his trial. The victim was unconscious, therefore unable to give consent. There is no argument to be had there.
The victim made a very powerful statement during the June 2016 trial that sent chills down the spines of the audience, “You don’t know me, but you’ve been inside me, and that’s why we’re here today. . . You took away my worth, my privacy, my energy, my time, my intimacy, my confidence, my own voice, until today.” She gives a full recount of her experiences that night. You can find her full statement on Washington Post’s website.
According to The New York Times, in response to Turner’s appeal of sexual assault conviction, Jeff Rosen, the Santa Clara County district attorney, said in a statement on Saturday,
“Brock Turner received a fair trial and was justly convicted. His conviction will be upheld. Nothing can ever roll back Emily Doe’s [the victim] legacy of raising the world’s awareness about sexual assault.”
By making this appeal and asking for another trial, Turner also risks a second conviction, if his trial is granted by California’s Sixth District Court of Appeal. In March 2016, Turner was convicted of three felonies, including assault with intent to rape an intoxicated woman and sexually penetrating an unconscious person with a foreign object.
However, in a way, this conviction appeal has done a few positive things. It has created a national outcry, which has in-turn, created more of an awareness and attention drawn to sexual assault cases on campuses nation-wide.
Back in September 2016 when Turner was set free after serving three of his six-month sentence, California lawmakers closed what they called a sentencing loophole, by creating harsher penalties for assaults similar to Turner’s. This bill would change state law, which treats sexual assaults involving penetration differently when a victim is unconscious or severely intoxicated.
While cases like Brock Turner’s are infuriating and disgusting, it has revealed the flaws in the justice system that need to be addressed. Obviously we hope that something like this doesn’t happen again, but if and when it does, the victim, the victim’s family, and all else affected need to be assured that the attacker will be properly punished.