People v. Turner: Difference between revisions

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|keywords = {{hlist|[[alcohol and sex]]|[[attempted rape]]|[[blackout (drug-related amnesia)]]|[[false accusation of rape]]|[[laws regarding rape]]|[[pregaming]]|[rape]]|[[sexual assault]]|[[sleep sex]]}}

Revision as of 05:19, 7 July 2016

People v. Turner
Seal of Santa Clara County, California.svg
Seal of Santa Clara County, California
CourtSanta Clara County Superior Court
Full case namePeople of the State of California v. Brock Allen Turner
IndictmentJanuary 28, 2015, on counts:
1.) Rape of an intoxicated person
2.) Rape of an unconscious person
3.) Assault with intent to rape an intoxicated woman
4.) Sexually penetrating an intoxicated person with a foreign object
5.) Sexually penetrating an unconscious person with a foreign object
StartedMarch 14, 2016
DecidedMarch 30, 2016
VerdictCount 1.) Withdrawn by prosecution
Count 2.) Withdrawn by prosecution
Count 3.) Guilty
Count 4.) Guilty
Count 5.) Guilty
DefendantBrock Allen Turner
Turner was sentenced on June 2, 2016, to six months incarceration in the Santa Clara County jail to be followed by three years of formal probation. Additionally, Turner must register as a sex offender for the rest of his life and participate in a sex offender rehabilitation program.
Court membership
Judge(s) sittingAaron Persky

People v. Turner, formally People of the State of California v. Brock Allen Turner (2015), was a criminal case filed in Santa Clara County Superior Court which convicted Brock Allen Turner of three counts of felony sexual assault. Turner was a student athlete at Stanford University on January 18, 2015, when he penetrated the vagina of a 22-year-old woman with his fingers. According to police, prosecutors, and the jury, the woman did not have the capacity to give legal consent due to alcohol intoxication and alcohol-induced unconsciousness.[1][2]

Turner was apprehended by two Stanford international students from Sweden, who testified that they intervened because the woman appeared to be unconscious. As they approached, Turner fled. The two men gave chase; catching Turner and restraining him until police arrived to take him in custody.[3][4][5] The victim remained unresponsive for several more hours until she regained consciousness in the hospital.[6] The police arrested Turner on Stanford's campus, and booked him into the Santa Clara County jail on suspicion of attempted rape and penetration with a foreign object.[7][8] He was released the same day after posting $150,000 bail.[9]

Turner was indicted on January 28, 2015, on five charges: two for rape, two for felony sexual assault, and one for attempted rape.[9] He was arraigned on February 2, 2015; pleading not guilty on all five charges.[10] On October 7, 2015, after reviewing the results of DNA tests, the two rape charges were dropped by prosecutors.[4][9][11][12] The trial began on March 14, 2016,[13] and concluded on March 30, 2016, with Turner's conviction on the three remaining charges of felony sexual assault.[14][15] The convictions carried a potential sentence of 14 years in prison. Prosecutors recommended six years in prison while probation officials recommended a "moderate" county jail sentence.[16] On June 2, 2016, Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky sentenced Turner to six months confinement in the Santa Clara County jail to be followed by three years of probation. He must also register as a sex offender for the rest of his life[17] and participate in a sex offender rehabilitation program.[15]

In the immediate aftermath of the case, widespread public criticism emerged, accusing Judge Persky of judicial bias in favor of social privilege,[18] leading to campaigns for the recall or resignation of Judge Persky. The Santa Clara County Bar Association and public defenders defended Persky, noting that the sentence was based upon the probation report as well as being consistent with similar cases, and stated that his removal would be a "threat to judicial independence".[19][20]

The victim's impact statement to the court was also widely disseminated by international media outlets; fueling a resurgence of the wider debate regarding the endemic of campus sexual assault overall. Her statement described her suffering in vivid detail, dissecting and criticizing Turner's actions both during and after the assault, and criticizing the probation department's recommendation of a short sentence for Turner. According to Vice News, the case had become "the latest, controversial episode in an ongoing debate sweeping the U.S. about rape culture, privilege in the criminal justice system, and campus safety."[21]


Brock Turner was born August 1, 1995, in Dayton, Ohio.[9] He graduated Oakwood High School in 2014, where he was a three-time All-American swimmer.[22][23] At the time of his arrest, Turner was a 19-year-old freshman at Stanford University; enrolled on a swimming scholarship,[9] he was also a member of Stanford's swim team.[3][5]

By U.S. courts and media conventions, the woman Turner was convicted of assaulting was named "V01" in the redacted police report on the incident, as "Jane Doe" in the indictment,[3] and as "Emily Doe"[24] and "Jane Doe 1" by local and regional newspapers,[25] including the San Jose Mercury News, the Stanford Daily and the Palo Alto Weekly.[26] Her real name was used by Turner in court.[27] At the time of her assault, Turner's victim was a 22-year-old alumna of a different college. Her 20-year-old sister Tiffany,[24] (also named "Jane Doe 2" by police), was a student at a distant California university.

In Stanford University's 2015 Campus Climate Survey, 4.7 percent of female undergraduates reported being subject to sexual assault as the term is defined by the university, and 32.9 percent reported experiencing sexual misconduct.[28] According to the survey, 85% of the alleged perpetrators were Stanford students and 80% were men.[28] The perpetrators of the alleged sexual misconduct were frequently aided by alcohol or drugs, according to the survey: "Nearly three-fourths of the students whose responses were categorized as sexual assault indicated that the act was accomplished by a person or person taking advantage of them when they were drunk or high, according to the survey. Close to 70 percent of students who reported an experience of sexual misconduct involving non-consensual penetration and/or oral sex indicated the same."[28] Associated Students of Stanford University, and student and alumni activists with the anti-rape group Stand with Leah, criticized the survey methodology for downgrading incidents involving alcohol if students did not check two separate boxes indicating they were both intoxicated and incapacitated while sexually assaulted.[28]

Incident details

Turner during his initial booking (left) and during his trial in June 2016 (right).

Two Swedish graduate students, Peter Lars Jonsson (aka W01) and Carl-Fredrik Arndt (W02), were cycling by the Kappa Alpha fraternity on the Stanford campus about 1:00 a.m., on January 18, 2015, when they came upon the crime scene.[29] According to Arndt and Jonsson, they surprised Turner behind a dumpster on top of an unconscious woman.[15] Jonsson testified that he confronted him, asking Turner, "What the fuck are you doing? She's unconscious." Turner quickly rose and fled. As Arndt momentarily checked to ascertain if the victim was breathing, Jonsson chased Turner, tripped him, and while holding him down, about 75 feet from the dumpster, asked him, "What are you smiling for?"[5] Arndt rapidly joined the chase, helping to pin Turner down. A bystander at the dumpster called emergency services. Meanwhile, two other passersby, Beau Barnett (W04) and Nicholas Peter Sinclair (W03),[3] arrived to aid Arndt and Jonsson in holding the assailant.[3][29] Campus police arrived moments later, questioned, and then arrested Turner.

Turner and the victim had both attended a party at Kappa Alpha fraternity earlier in the night. The victim's sister testified in the trial that Turner, a man previously unknown to her, had approached her twice and attempted to kiss her, but she pulled away. The sister also testified that she never saw Turner and the victim interact at the party.[2] According to the police report, compiled the morning after the incident, Turner at first told police that he met the victim outside the fraternity house and left with her. He also stated he did not know her name and "stated that he would not be able to recognize [the victim] if he saw her again."[30][31]

After his arrest, Turner told police[31] that he and the victim "drank beer together", "danced and kissed" at the party and both mutually agreed to go back to his room. Turner stated that the victim slipped on a slope behind a wooden shed, and Turner got down to the ground and they started kissing each other. Turner said he then asked her if she wanted him to "finger" her, to which she said yes. He stated that he "fingered" her for a minute as they were kissing, then they started "dry humping". Turner then said he got nauseous and told her he needed to vomit. Turner said he got up and started to walk away to throw up, and heard another person saying something to him which he could not understand, then heard the same person talking to another person in a foreign language. They grabbed him, however Turner said he broke away but was quickly tackled.[32]

Prosecuting attorney Alaleh Kianerci and the victim have both alleged that Turner's narrative during trial testimony was fabricated.[33][34] Kianerci argued to the jury that, "He's able to write the script because she has no memory. But just because he wrote the script doesn't mean that ... knowledgeable jurors have to believe it."[33] The victim described Turner's testimony as presenting "a strange new story, [that] almost sounded like a poorly written, young adult novel."[34]


note: The legal limit for driving for people over 21 years old is 0.08%. The legal limit for driving for a 19 year old is 0.01%.

In his statements Brock described initially drinking 5 Rolling Rock[35] beers and 2 swigs of Fireball whiskey in a friend's room, and then having more beer later,[36] reaching a total of 9 beers.[37] Detective Mike Kim reported that Brock consumed a total of 7 cans of Rolling rock.[3]

Doe says she had 4 shots of whiskey between 10:00pm-10:30pm and felt buzzed but able to function.[3]

After his arrest, Turner was found to have a blood alcohol blood content of 0.17%,[38] estimated to be 0.171% at 1am.[2] He testified that he did remember what happened that night.[4]

The blood-alcohol content of Emily Doe was measured in hospital after 4:15am as 0.12%[39] It was estimated to have earlier been been around 0.22%[39] or 0.24%[38] or 0.242-0.249% at 1am.[2] She told the police that she did not remember the events from some point after her arrival at the party until she woke up more than three hours later in the hospital.[4][40]

Doe vomited without assistance before being taken away by ambulances.[2] In cross-examination the prosecutor accused Brock of not actually vomiting,[41] but Brock

The estimates for Turner and Doe for 1am were made by Alice King, a supervising criminalist for Santa Clara County using nominally hypothetical situations.[2]

Turner said he had limited experience with alcohol, which was a factor in his judgment the night of January 18, 2015. Evidence from his cell phone texts in the year prior to his arrest showed that he had extensively discussed his use of alcohol.[42] In 2014 Turner was arrested on campus for underage drinking.[43]

Edwards described two of the witnesses, Bolton and Robbins, as displaying symptoms of alcohol consumption, including having slurred speech and having an alcoholic odor.[3]

Tiffany's friends McCann and McElhone reportedly drank whiskey at a dinner party prior to arriving at their house for dinner.[3]

Maggioncalda, the sisters' friend, says prior to arriving she drank a bottle of wine, and then at Kappa Alpha had 3 shots of vodka and 3 shot-size beers. She says she was drunk but able to walk and did not black out.[3] Tiffany says that the vodka Maggioncalda found was Taaka.[3] Tiffany says she did not drink the vodka because she doesn't like it, but that Emily and Maggioncalda did.


Doe said her last memory was around midnight (12:00am).[2] She made calls to her sister and her sister's friend at 12:29am.[2] Paramedic Shaohsuan “Steven” Fanchiang said she did not respond to a "shake and shout" test.[2] Fanchiang said she opened her eyes when he pinched her nail beds.[2] When Doe vomited on the scene prior to being taken away by ambulances, she was able to cough/spit out the vomit on her own without assistance.[2] In a January 19 report, Fanchiang rated her as 11 out of 15 on the Glasgow Coma Scale.[2]


All of these events and times (or approximate times in some cases) are mentioned in the initial complaint report:[3]

January 17:

  • 1600 is when Doe says Tiffany received a call from Maggioncalda, inviting the sisters to the frat party. Tiffany then invites friends Colleen McCann and Trea McElhone.[3]
  • 2100 is when Doe reports having had dinner and having champagne with McCann and McElhone.[3]
  • 2200 to 2230 is when Doe reports having had 4 shots of whiskey.[3]
  • 2230 is when Kramer describes meeting Brock at Roble Hall to share Fireballs.
  • 2240 is when Kremer reports the Roble Hall party being shut down due to a noise complaint.
  • 2300 is when Turner describes arriving with Tom Kremer at Kappa Alpha house.[3]
  • around/prior to 2315 is when Doe says that she and her sister Tiffany are dropped off at Stanford campus by their mother[3] Tiffany reports this as happening at 2300.[3]
  • the sisters then walk to the Kappa Alpha fraternity house to meet with Tiffany's friend, Julia Nacey Maggioncalda.[3]
  • 2345 is when Kremer reports taking a pack of beer from the fridge to go drink with Turner and 2 "college-age women"
  • 2345 Doe describes having 2 shots of vodka.[3]
  • about 0000 is when Doe says that she and her sister and Julia went outdoors to thick bushes and went to the bathroom.[3] This is the latest Doe reports remembering. Her younger sister says this happened at about 1150 hours.[3] Maggioncalda reports that the bush-bathroom with herself, Tiffany and Tiffany's sister happened some time between 2342 and 0011. Tiffany later clarified to DeVlugt that they were urinating in the bushes.
  • Tiffany said that after this, she and her sister and Maggioncalda met with three guys who were shotgunning "Natty" Natural Light beers by poking holes in the cans.[3] She says one reported getting into Stanford via a diving or swimming team.[3] Another she reports as being quiet and aggressive.

January 18:

  • 0010 hours is when Tiffany reports that she and Colleen escorted Trea to Maggioncalda's house. Maggioncalda says 0011. Tiffany reports that by the time she returned to Kappa Alpha, police were there (indicating later than 0105, at least 55 minutes later) and said she spent 1.5 hours searching for her sister.
  • 0018 Magioncalda texts Emily saying she's upstairs
  • 0029 / 0030 is when Emily made a 35 second call to Tiffany and a 7 second call to Maggioncalda[3]
  • 0030 is when Kremer reports walking home
  • 0053 both Tiffany and Maggioncalda text Emily
  • Jonnson and Arndt's statements were summarized as describing their cycling together at about 0055 hours when they noticed movement.[3]
  • 0057 Tiffany texts Emily again
  • Sinclair and Barnett described hearing a commotion at about 0058 hours.[3]
  • Deputy B. Shaw, the case's primary,[3] reported being dispatched with deputies Adams (the FTO) and Jeffrey Taylor (assisting) at 0101 hours.[3]
  • Taylor arrived at 0105 hours.[3]
  • Shaw arrived at 0106 hours.[3]
  • A fire engine 66 and medic 62 then arrived.
  • Deputy Robert Edwards (assisting) arrived at 0115[3] to consult with the initial caller, Jason Elliot Robbins.
  • 0115 is also when Maggioncalda describes the police arriving and herself leaving.[3]
  • After this, Edwards spoke with Blake Andrew Bolton.
  • Sgt. Barries (supervisor and incident commander) arrived at some point after Edwards.
  • 0116 Maggioncalda and Tiffany text Emily again
  • Penitisa Campos, a CSO, (Crime Scene Technician) arrived at 0120.[3]
  • The ambulance left (with Taylor riding along) at 0130 hours,[3]
  • Adams notified dean Brown at 0134 hours.[3]
  • At 0143 Lt. Havig called Detective Mike Kim to inform him of the situation.
  • The ambulance arrived at hospital at 0200 hours.[3]
  • Campos had by 0207 collected panties and an iPhone.
  • At 0225 hours Shaw requested a phlebotomist to draw blood from Turner.[3]
  • Adria Aguilar drew Turner's blood at 0315 hours,[3] giving the blood sample to Adams who then gave it to Shaw who gave it to CSO Penitisa Campos.
  • A nurse named Setterland performed a suspect SART exam at 0415 hours at Adams' request,[3] at approximately the same time Doe began to respond to Adams' verbal inquiries.[3]
  • Doe was medically cleared at 0430 by Dr. Alvarez.[3]
  • 0635 Kim interviews Turner at the SUDP Annex
  • 0636 Kim reads Turner his Miranda Advisement.
  • at some point Deputy Bates escorts Turner to San Jose Main Jail.[3]
  • Kim requests Sgt. Rondeau to retrieve Kremer's number from Turner's phone.
  • According to Taylor's report, April Tettember (a SART Advocate) arrived at the hospital at 0720[3]
  • Campos reported returning to 664 Lomita Court at 0728, collecting an empty Coors Light can and taking 22 more photos to supplement the 34 she'd taken earlier, totalling 56.[3]
  • 2 SART Nurses (Joy Mitchell and Kristine Setterland) arrived at 0745,[3] with Mitchell drawing blood at this time.[3]
  • 0830 Rondeau asks Campos and Terrance Dotsy to access bin 011 for Turner's phone.
  • Taylor reports that Kim arrived at the hospital at approximately 0830 to relieve him, [3] Kim reports his arrival in the SART Office of the Valley Medical Center was 0834.[3]
  • At about 1030 hours, Kim interviews Doe with Tettember present.[3]
  • At about 1059, Tiffany arrived to pick up her sister and gave a statement to Kim.[3]
  • 1200 Rondeau asks Dotsy to contact Kramer.
  • 1200 nurse Mitchell provides Kim with Doe's blood and clothing and the SART kit.[3]
  • 1242 detective Kim calls Tiffany and spoke with her older sister (Emily Doe) on the phone.[3]
  • 1250 Emily calls him and agrees to prosecute.[3]
  • 1310 Kim books the blood, clothing and SART kit at SUDPS evidence room, kit and blood in a refrigerator.[3]
  • 1520 the Kim e-mails Emily a copy of the Marsy's Card about the "Victim's Bill of Rights".
  • 1640 Kim puts audio recordings of Emily and Brock's statements onto a CD
  • 1650 Kim puts the CD into booking
  • 2025 officer Carrie DeVlugt meets with Emily.
  • 2130 Edwards interviews Maggioncalda (written as 1-18-15) who reported walking to Kappa Alpha with Cassidy Cook and Jamie Neushel.

January 19:

  • 2000 hours officer Carrie DeVlugt has an unrecorded conversation with Tiffany on phone to get info for McCann/McElhone

Official responses

Turner withdrew from Stanford shortly after the incident rather than face disciplinary proceedings. On January 20—two days after his arrest—Stanford announced Turner had been banned from campus.[44] Stanford further announced within two weeks of the incident that it had banned Turner from ever setting foot on campus again—the harshest disciplinary sanction it can impose on a student.[45]

Turner had aspirations to swim for the U.S. National Team in the 2016 Olympics, but USA Swimming stated on June 6 that he would not be eligible for membership if he sought to reapply.[46][47] On June 10, USA Swimming reiterated that Turner would never be welcome in its ranks again, in accordance with its zero-tolerance policy for sexual misconduct. That announcement effectively banned Turner from ever participating in a competitive swimming event for the United States. Sanctioned meets in the United States—including Olympic trials—are open only to members of USA Swimming.[48] Every major professional sports league in the U.S. and the International Olympic Committee have banned Turner from their respective venues and events.[48]

Indictment and charges

On January 28, 2015, Turner was indicted on five charges:

  1. Rape of an intoxicated person
  2. Rape of an unconscious person,
  3. Assault with intent to rape an intoxicated woman
  4. Sexually penetrating an intoxicated person with a foreign object
  5. Sexually penetrating an unconscious person with a foreign object.[9]

The two formal charges of rape under California state law were dropped at a preliminary hearing on October 7, 2015,[12] after DNA testing revealed no genetic evidence of genital-to-genital contact.[4][49]


On March 30, 2016, Turner was found guilty of three felonies: assault with intent to rape an intoxicated woman, sexually penetrating an intoxicated person with a foreign object, and sexually penetrating an unconscious person with a foreign object. The victim's DNA was found under the fingernails of Turner's left and right hands, and on a portion of his right finger.[49]

On June 2, 2016, Judge Aaron Persky sentenced Turner to six months in the Santa Clara County jail[14] followed by three years of formal probation.[16][50] With good behavior, Turner may serve only three months of his sentence in jail.[17] However, he must register as a sex offender for the rest of his life[17] and participate in a sex offender rehabilitation program.[15]

Prosecutors recommended that Turner be given a six-year prison sentence. In their sentencing brief, they argued several factors merited a more severe sentence:

He purposefully took her to an isolated area, away from all of the party goers, to an area that was dimly lit, and assaulted her on the ground behind a dumpster. He deliberately took advantage of the fact that she was so intoxicated that she could not form a sentence, let alone keep her eyes open or stand. This behavior is not typical assaultive behavior that you find on campus, but it is more akin to a predator who is searching for prey.[51]

Santa Clara County probation officials, including his probation officer Monica Lassettre, recommended that Turner be given a "moderate" county jail sentence with formal probation:

During the presentence interview, the defendant expressed sincere remorse and empathy for the victim ... In determining an appropriate recommendation, this officer considered myriad factors, including the impact of the crime on the victim and the safety of the community. Other factors included the defendant's lack of a criminal history, his youthful age, and his expressed remorse and empathy toward the victim ... Based on the aforementioned information, a moderate county jail sentence, formal probation, and sexual offender treatment is respectfully recommended.[16]

The probation report did not mention another woman who said she had been upset by Turner's unwanted physical advances at a Kappa Alpha party just eight days before the charged offense, though the reports were in the trial record.[52]


Turner's father protested the prison sentence requested by the prosecutor, saying it was a "steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action out of his 20 plus years of life."[53]

Prosecutors and victims' rights advocates have decried what they see as light sentencing.[18] Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeffrey F. Rosen criticized the letter from Turner's father to the court, saying it reduced a brutal sexual assault to "20 minutes of action."[54]

Nancy Brewer, a retired Santa Clara County assistant public defender, described Persky as being "respected by both prosecutors and defenders"; further stating that he "is seen as a fair judge who is not soft on crime or someone who gives lenient sentences." Brewer said that Persky "carefully evaluated the evidence and did what he thought was a fair and appropriate sentence in the case ... based on the Santa Clara County Probation Department's pre-sentence investigation report." Danny Cevallos said the judge "absolutely is obliged to consider very seriously the [probation department] report" and noted that California penal code does allow a judge to depart from the statutory minimum (two years for rape), with justifications including defendant's lack of criminal history and the effect that incarceration will have on the guilty party. Cevallos believed that while the sentence was lenient, Turner's prior clean record made him a candidate for minimum sentencing.[55] Deputy Public Defender Sajid Khan did not consider the sentence lenient as he noted "Turner will register as a sex offender for life, and if he violates his probation he could go to prison for 14 years." Khan further stated that "Persky's reputation among public defenders (a group closely attuned to racial inequities in the courtroom) is that of a fair-minded jurist", saying "No one has been able to cite an example so far of him where a similarly situated minority client has been treated harshly by him. We appreciated...the judge's understanding of Brock Turner's humanity...and we would want any judge to do the same for our clients."[19][56]

Repercussions to the judge

Although he did not face any opposition in an election held five days after the sentencing, Persky now faces a campaign to recall him. Persky had also been a student and lacrosse team captain at Stanford University.[57] The demands received support by Representative Ted Poe (R-Texas), who took to the floor of the House of Representatives to condemn Turner's sentence as too lenient and to call for Judge Persky's removal.[58]

The move to recall Persky was opposed by the Santa Clara County public defender, who said she is "alarmed by the hysteria" about the Turner sentence. A group of 70 public defenders has petitioned in support of Persky, warning against "mass incarceration" brought upon by state legislatures or indiscreet judges, and fearing that the backlash against Persky could hurt their own clients (mostly poor African and Latino) by compelling judges to give out harsh sentences. Deputy Public Defender Sajid Khan wrote "rather than using robotic, one size fits all punishment schemes, we want judges, like Judge Persky, to engage in thoughtful, case by case, individualized determinations of the appropriate sentence for a particular crime and particular offender".[19][20] Santa Clara County district attorney Jeff Rosen, whose office prosecuted Turner and will not appeal the sentence, stated, "While I strongly disagree with the sentence that Judge Persky issued in the Brock Turner case, I do not believe he should be removed from his judgeship"[59] and said "Judicial independence is a critical part of the U.S. justice system. The immense power that comes with judicial independence also comes with accountability to the people we serve."[20] Danny Cevallos stated that judges enjoy a modicum of independence from public pressure, and "there are no apparent grounds for impeachment or allegations of judicial misconduct, based on this sentence alone". Cevallos said that the recall movement "raises the question: is removing judges good for the spirit of the judiciary system, especially when the judge's sole transgression is a legal sentence" where he correctly applied the law.[60][61] The Santa Clara County Bar Association has released a statement saying that removing Persky would be a "threat to judicial independence" and weighs just one of his 13 years of decisions too heavily, saying they see "no credible assertions that in issuing the sentence, Judge Persky violated the law or his ethical obligations or acted in bad faith."[19]

In June 2016, at least ten prospective jurors refused to serve in a misdemeanor trial for possession of stolen property where Persky was presiding, citing the judge's sentencing of Turner as a reason.[62] The following week, Rosen filed a peremptory motion for recusal in a case where Persky was to preside over the criminal trial of a surgical nurse charged with sexual battery for allegedly touching the genitals of a patient under sedation. Rosen called his move to have the judge removed from the case, "a rare and carefully considered step for our office."[62]

Revisit of previous rape case

In 2011, Persky presided over a civil lawsuit against multiple members of the De Anza college baseball team, who were accused by the underage plaintiff, "Jane Doe", of gang-raping her while she was unconscious until passersby intervened. During the trial, Persky decided that the jury should be allowed to view photographs of the plaintiff taken at a party she attended approximately a year after the alleged gang rape, as per the defense's claim that this evidence contradicted the plaintiff's claims of suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.[63] The jury found the defendants not liable.[64]

Following Brock Turner's sentencing in 2016, the plaintiff's attorneys in the De Anza case criticized Persky for allowing the photos into evidence. Attorneys for Doe said the photographs were not the only evidence that Persky unfairly permitted. Four of the baseball players had invoked Fifth Amendment rights not to self-incriminate during the discovery phase of the litigation. According to a lawyer for Doe, that was a critical juncture: it prevented the victim's team from obtaining evidence that could have helped them pursue their case. The original judge in the case ruled in 2010 that the defendants could refuse to testify, but that would also mean that they would be prohibited from subsequently testifying in the case. That ruling was, however, overturned by Persky after he took over the trial in 2011, a move that Doe's attorneys say undermined her case.[63]


Defendant's statements

After the guilty verdict, Turner maintained to his probation officer that the encounter was consensual.[65] He also gave an 11-page statement to the judge[36] that said he received verbal consent from the woman before she passed out.

According to Turner's statement, he and the woman drank, danced, and kissed at the party. Sometime around midnight, he asked her whether she would like to go back to his dorm and she said yes. He claimed that she had slipped behind a wooden shed and then he got down on the ground with her and started kissing and fingering her until he got nauseous and decided to walk to another location to throw up.[4][66]

Turner stated, "It debilitates me to think that my actions have caused her [Emily Doe] emotional and physical stress that is completely unwarranted and unfair."[27]

Victim-impact statement

The victim of the assault ("Doe") read a 7,138-word victim-impact statement[67] aloud in the sentencing phase of the trial. The New York Times described the statement as a "cri de coeur against the role of privilege in the trial and the way the legal system deals with sexual assault"[18] On June 3, 2016, Palo Alto Online[26] and BuzzFeed[34] published Doe's full statement.

In the statement, she detailed the negative effects Turner had on her life: "You took away my worth, my privacy, my energy, my time, my safety, my intimacy, my confidence, my own voice, until today."[68] The statement also detailed the effect on Doe's ability to remain in her full-time job, which she left afterward "because continuing day to day was not possible."[25]

Doe's statement also described her experience at the hospital while being treated for sexual assault: "I had multiple swabs inserted into my vagina and anus, needles for shots, pills, had a Nikon pointed right into my spread legs. I had long, pointed beaks inside me and had my vagina smeared with cold, blue paint to check for abrasions."[25]

The statement articulated that "social class" should not be factored into the sentence: "The fact that Brock was a star athlete at a prestigious university should not be seen as an entitlement to leniency, but as an opportunity to send a strong cultural message that sexual assault is against the law regardless of social class." Doe also disagreed with the probation officer's assessment that Turner had showed remorse, stating that Turner had failed to show genuine remorse and this was a factor in her anger at the brief sentence.[25]

The statement was subsequently formally released by Santa Clara County[69] and was picked up by national and international media including the Washington Post,[25] CBS News,[70] Los Angeles Times,[71] TIME,[72] San Jose Mercury News,[73] Cosmopolitan[74] and the UK's Daily Mail[75] and The Guardian.[76] The letter went viral, being shared over 11 million times in four days.[77] CNN anchor Ashleigh Banfield read most of the statement aloud during a 20-minute segment of CNN's Legal View.[78]

On June 16, a bipartisan group of eighteen members of the House of Representatives took turns reading the statement on the House floor. Representative Jackie Speier organized the reading to raise awareness about sexual assault, and to promote her legislation on campus sexual assault. Paul Gosar said: "People need to learn from this, ... This should matter to everyone." Cheri Bustos claimed a need for more women in the house to bring the issue of sexual assault to the forefront.[79] Vice President Joe Biden wrote the victim an open letter titled, "An Open Letter to a Courageous Young Woman", which read in part, "I am filled with furious anger — both that this happened to you and that our culture is still so broken that you were ever put in the position of defending your own worth."[80]

Prosecutor's statements

Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeffrey F. Rosen stated that "The punishment does not fit the crime." Rosen described Turner as a "predatory offender" and stated he "has failed to take responsibility, failed to show remorse and failed to tell the truth." Rosen added, "Campus rape is no different than off-campus rape. Rape is rape. And I will prosecute it as such."[18]

Juror's statement

A juror calling himself "A Concerned Juror" (he described the 12 as mostly male) said this was his first time as a juror and that he recently became a. U.S. citizen after residing in the country three decades. He wrote a letter to the judge expressing dissatisfaction with the sentencing length. The juror said that "the fact that Turner ran away after two Stanford graduate students noticed him on top of an unmoving woman" was compelling evidence along with the incoherence of the message that Doe left her boyfriend before meeting Brock. The juror believed this was very strong evidence "that Turner should have reasonably known she was not able to give consent."[81]

Statements by Turner's family and friends

On June 4, Michele Dauber, a professor and sociologist at the Stanford Law School, who is also a family friend of the victim, posted a letter written by Dan Turner, Brock's father, asking for leniency for his son, arguing that punishment was a "steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action out of his 20 plus years of life."[82][83][84] The letter sparked outrage and was cited as an example of the prevalence of rape culture.[18][54][85][86]

Dauber also circulated, again via Twitter, a letter written by Leslie Rasmussen, a female childhood friend of Turner, that defended Turner and blamed alcohol consumption and universities for advertising themselves as "party schools".[87] The letter was met with further criticism.[88][89] The publication of her letter, in which she also said Brock came from "a respectable family," led to cancellations of her local band's engagements at a festival and clubs as far away as New York.[90]

Writing to the court and recommending against prison, Oakwood Judge Margaret M. Quinn, a Turner family friend and retired federal prosecutor,[91] also blamed the assault on alcohol, minimizing Turner's culpability. "He made a mistake in drinking excessively to the point where he could not fully appreciate that his female acquaintance was so intoxicated. I know Brock did not go to that party intending to hurt, or entice, or overpower anyone."[92][93]

Doe's family's statements

Her sister (referred to by police as "Jane Doe 2")[94] wrote a letter saying she was permanently broken by the events.[95]

Police reports

The Stanford University Department of Public Safety provided the initial response and investigation. A felony complaint was filed in the Superior Court for the County of Santa Clara on January 28, 2015.[3][9][96]

Turner had a prior campus law enforcement encounter when he was found by Stanford University police to be a minor in possession of cans of beer on November 11, 2014. He was cited as well for possession of a counterfeit Ohio driver's license. In addition, after publicized reports of the January 18, 2015, sexual assault incident, another female reported that Turner had made unwelcome physical advances toward her at a prior Kappa Alpha party on January 9, 2015.[52]


It has been reported that Turner's legal appeal will be led by attorney Dennis Riordan,[97] who represented former baseball player Barry Bonds in a perjury case.[98] Riordan was present in court Thursday June 2 with Turner's initial attorney Michael Armstrong.[99]

See also

  • Ethan Couch, another convicted criminal whose light sentence spurred public outrage


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External links