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Brock Turner's Jail Time for Sexual Assault to Be Cut by Half

Brock Turner
Brock Turner

Turner, a former Stanford University student who received the light sentence of six months for the assault, now will be released after three months.


When former Stanford University student Brock Turner was sentenced to just six months in jail on a sexual assault conviction, a lot of people thought that was too light a punishment -- and now it's gotten even lighter, as Turner is scheduled to be released after serving just half the time.

Turner will be freed Friday from the Santa Clara County jail in Northern California, the New York Daily News reports, citing jail records. His early release "is presumably based on good behavior, though his release date has been listed as this Friday since shortly after his conviction," the paper notes.

Turner was convicted in March of assaulting an unconscious woman behind a trash bin near a Stanford fraternity house in January 2015, when he was a student at the university. Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky handed down the six-month sentence in June, although prosecutors had sought a six-year term, and in state prison, not the county jail.

"A prison sentence would have a severe impact on him," Persky said at the time. "I think he will not be a danger to others."

The light sentence led to widespread outrage. "The punishment does not fit the crime," Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen said shortly after the sentencing, according to the San Francisco Chronicle."The predatory offender has failed to take responsibility, failed to show remorse, and failed to tell the truth. The sentence does not factor in the true seriousness of this sexual assault, or the victim's ongoing trauma."

In court, the victim read a lengthy impact statement to Turner, who claimed the contact was consensual. "You should have never done this to me," she said. "Secondly, you should have never made me fight so long to tell you, you should have never done this to me. But here we are. The damage is done, no one can undo it. And now we both have a choice. We can let this destroy us, I can remain angry and hurt and you can be in denial, or we can face it head on, I accept the pain, you accept the punishment, and we move on."

In another part of the statement, she said, "I told the probation officer I do not want Brock to rot away in prison. I did not say he does not deserve to be behind bars. The probation officer's recommendation of a year or less in county jail is a soft timeout, a mockery of the seriousness of his assaults, an insult to me and all women. It gives the message that a stranger can be inside you without proper consent and he will receive less than what has been defined as the minimum sentence. Probation should be denied. I also told the probation officer that what I truly wanted was for Brock to get it, to understand and admit to his wrongdoing."

Some observers thought Turner received a short sentence partly because of his race -- he is white -- and his status as a student athlete, a member of the swim team, at an elite university. A petition seeking Persky's recall made just these points, saying, "Judge Persky failed to see that the fact that Brock Turner is a white male star athlete at a prestigious university does not entitle him to leniency. He also failed to send the message that sexual assault is against the law regardless of social class, race, gender or other factors. Please help rectify this travesty to justice."

Last week Persky recused himself from another sex-offender case, one in which he was to decide whether to reduce a man's conviction for possessing child pornography from a felony to a misdemeanor, CNN reports. Stanford law professor Michele Dauber, who is among those seeking Persky's recall, had found that in 2014, Persky had sentenced the man to just four days in jail. "According to Dauber's research, others convicted of similar crimes in Santa Clara County got at least six months in jail," CNN notes.

Dauber said she was glad Persky had recused himself from the case, but the recall effort will continue. She also told CNN there will be a rally Friday at the county's Hall of Justice in downtown San Jose.

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