Brock Turner, a Stanford University freshman and star athlete was convicted in March 2016 of 3 felony counts of sexual assault. Just over a week ago, Judge Aaron Persky of Santa Clara County sentenced Brock Turner to six months in county jail,. Judge Persky's sentencing sparked outrage across the nation, and started an online petition to remove him from the bench.
In January 2015, Brock Turner was a freshman at Stanford University when he was arrested in the early morning hours for raping a woman, Two men riding bikes on campus saw Turner sexually assaulting an unconscious woman behind a dumpster near an on campus fraternity. The two men chased Turner down and held him down until police arrived. The police arrested Brock Turner for attempted rape. During his police interview, Turner admitted to penetrating the woman's vagina with his fingers. The woman did not regain consciousness for several hours later and had no memory of the sex crime.
Following a jury trial, Turner was convicted of the following charges: assault with intent to commit rape of intoxicated person PC 220(a)(1)/261 which carries a potential sentence of 2, 4 or 6 years in state prison. This offense is a strike offense, and carries mandatory sex offender registration for life; Sexual penetration of unconscious person PC 289(d), which carries a potential sentence of 3,6 or 8 years in state prison. This charge requires sex offender registration for life; Sexual penetration of intoxicated person PC 289(3), which carries a potential sentence of 3, 6 or 8 years in state prison. This charge requires sex offender registration for life.
The maximum sentence Turner faced was up to 14 years in state prison. The prosecution argued to the court that Turner should be sentenced to 6 years in state prison for the attack. However, the probation report made a recommendation for county jail, which is ultimately what the judge chose to give. Probation reports contain interviews and statements from defendants and victims along with other investigation of the defendants background. In this case, the victim wrote a 12-page victim impact statement which was provided to the court. The probation report recommended that Brock Turner be sentenced to a year or less in County jail. They did not recommend state prison. The probation report noted that Turner had no criminal history and he had expressed remorse and empathy toward the victim. The probation officer also stated that Turner's blood alcohol level was 0.013%, which reduced the seriousness of the crime. Ultimately, Judge Persky sentenced Brock Turner to six months in County Jail. Judge Persky stated “A prison sentence would have a severe impact on him. I think he will not be a danger to others.” Brock Turner will be on probation for 3 years and he will also be required to register as a sex offender for life pursuant to PC 290.
Sex crimes are typically not the type of crime that is committed in public and thus, more difficult to prove. In this case, the fact that the sexual assault occurred outside and on a presumably busy campus assisted the prosecution of Brock Turner. Had those two men not stopped to assist, it is very likely that Mr. Turner would have never been arrested. Usually forensic testimony and pre-text phone calls to suspects are methods by which suspects become defendants in criminal cases. In California, it is legal to have victim's contact suspects and record conversations that can later be used against them in court.
If you would like to speak to one of our Orange County criminal defense attorneys regarding a sex crime case or investigation, please call (949) 558-0042 for your free consultation.