Many are still grappling with what's widely perceived as a lenient sentencing for Brock Turner, a 20-year-old man who raped an unconscious woman behind a dumpster outside a fraternity party at Stanford University in January 2015. Turner was sentenced to six months in jail, probation, and will have to register as a sex offender after being convicted for three sex felony abuse charges. But will Turner's sentence be appealed? Some reports suggest it may already be in the works.
According to Palo Alto Online, Turner reportedly has plans to appeal his conviction. The local Palo Alto-area news site reported that Turner will be represented by Dennis Riordan, a well-known San Francisco-area appellate attorney. He was reportedly in court on Thursday, June 2 – the day Turner was sentenced, Palo Alto Online reported. The Los Angeles Times reported that Turner has already filed an appeal, according to Judge Aaron Persky.
It may not come as a complete surprise if Turner does indeed appeal his conviction, considering his father, Dan, reportedly wrote a letter complaining that his son will go to jail at all. In the statement, Dan insisted that his son's life has been "deeply altered" as the result of "20 minutes of action." (Yes, that's actually what he called the rape his son committed.)
"...He will never be his happy go lucky self with that easy going personality and welcoming smile," the letter read. "His ever waking minute is consumed with worry, anxiety, fear and depression." He continued:
These verdicts have broken and shattered him and our family in so many ways. His life will never be the one he dreamed about and worked so hard to achieve. That is a steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action out of his 20 plus years of life. The fact that he now has to register as a sexual offender for the rest of his life forever alters where he can live, visit, work, and how he will be able to interact with people and organizations.
The steep price Turner's father is referring to is six months in jail with the likelihood of it getting reduced for good behavior. Turner faced up to 14 years in prison, with the prosecution asking Persky for six. But the judge insisted that Turner "will not be a danger to others." So, instead, there's a good chance he'll be out in three months – significantly less time than what the prosecution aimed for, to say the least.
As for Turner's victim, her powerful 12-page statement, recounts Turner's traumatic attack, and the tremendous pain it has caused her and her family. She poignantly called attention to the defense team's victim-blaming tactic, with attempts to exploit her drinking that night, and her romantic relationships, among other dangerous, misogynist tactics perpetuating rape culture. Turner's lenient sentencing represents society's stark and deep-rooted issue with privilege. Only time will tell if Turner will appeal a sentence that's already a smack-in-the-face for survivors everywhere, who don't have the support or resources to pursue convictions for their attackers. Several online petitions have been created, asking for a harsher sentence for Turner and the recall of Persky.