Brock Turner has been released from jail after serving half of his six months sentence for sexually assaulting an unconscious intoxicated 22-year-old woman in campus on January 2015. The decision made on this case had brought about international outrage.
Turner left the Sta. Clara County jail in San Jose, California was caught by the TV news cameras as the Sheriff’s deputies stood nearby. Head down and silent, he walked out of the front door of the Santa Clara County Main Jail in San Jose early Friday morning.
Turner went out carrying a paper bag filled with his belongings as crowds of reporters surrounded him. Questions were thrown at him but he spoke not a single word.
Brock Turner, 21, is a former Stanford University student who has been convicted of three felony assault charges in March.
The attack happened behind a dumpster and ended when two cyclists, international students from Sweden, intervened. The victim only woke up in the hospital and learned about the details of the attack through news reports.
Turner was charged with sexual assault instead of rape, because although he digitally penetrated the woman, he did not have intercourse with her, and California law does not define that as rape. Crazy Right!
In June, Judge Aaron Persky sentenced Turner to only six months in prison, followed by three year probation. This decision was criticized as too lenient and ignited an outrage.
The 21-year-old’s light sentence was reduced to three months before he even stepped foot in a jail cell, due to “automatically applied credits’” for good behavior prior to sentencing. He was also in protective custody during his entire time behind bars. Given the charges against him, Turner had originally faced up to 14 years in prison.
Early releases are commonly given because of good behavior and because of California’s prison realignment. In 2014, The Times reported more than 13,500 inmates were being released early each month to relieve crowding in local jails.
A US Senator has decried a California judge’s decision while signatures on an online petition calling for the judge’s ouster passed 400,000.
The Recall Persky campaign, led by Stanford law professor and Palo Alto resident Michele Dauber, organized a lineup of 14 speakers who, one by one, said that Persky has proved himself unfit to remain on the bench. Standing in front of a large group of solemn protesters holding signs with messages like “don’t legalize rape” and “hold Persky accountable,” they spoke about the broader implications they believe Persky’s record holds for the legal system and for victims of sexual violence.
Turner was sentenced to six months in jail because a longer sentence would have “a severe impact on him,” according to a judge. At his sentencing Thursday, his victim read him a letter describing the “severe impact” the assault had on her. In a BuzzFeed report, a powerful letter was read aloud by the victim to her attacker.
In part it read:
“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”.
“He is a lifetime sex registrant. That doesn’t expire. Just like what he did to me doesn’t expire, doesn’t just go away after a set number of years. It stays with me, it’s part of my identity, it has forever changed the way I carry myself, the way I live the rest of my life”.
The letter also mentioned how she feels for her sister who is severely affected and hurting, keeps on saying sorry for leaving her and feeling more guilty than the convict does.
She also wrote, “The seriousness of rape has to be communicated clearly, we should not create a culture that suggests we learn that rape is wrong through trial and error. The consequences of sexual assault needs to be severe enough that people feel enough fear to exercise good judgment even if they are drunk, severe enough to be preventative.”
US Senator Barbara Boxer said in a statement, “Six months for someone who viciously attacked a woman, especially after she was so brave to come forward, is outrageous”.
Persky, who was appointed to the bench by Gov. Gray Davis in 2003, voluntarily moved to civil court, officials announced last week.