After going back and forth on whether or not to release the mugshot of Brock Turner, it was finally made public by the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Department. There had been confusion over which law enforcement agency had jurisdiction over the image. The Palo Alto Police Department said it wasn't them, the Stanford Department of Public Safety told Bustle it was reviewing whether or not to release the mugshot, and it was a totally different entity that actually did make it public. But Turner was convicted back in March. Why wasn't it out there in the first place, when so many other alleged criminals have their mugshots published, sometimes before they're even convicted?
Turner was sentenced to a light punishment of six months in jail (the maximum possible was 14 years ) for three felony counts: assault with intent to commit rape of an intoxicated or unconscious person, sexual penetration of an intoxicated person, and sexual penetration of an unconscious person. He also was given three years of probation and must register as a sex offender. So you'd think that his mugshot would have been out for the public to know who he is.
But Turner's status as a scholarship college swimmer and a 2016 Olympic hopeful could have given him an advantage. After all, the judge did hand out a lenient sentence because of the "severe impact" a long time in jail could have on Turner, which somehow manages to ignore the severe impact the crime he was convicted of had on his victim.
And as many Twitter users have pointed out, not only was Turner spared the embarrassment of having his mugshot spread across media outlets — instead having only to see photos of him smiling in a yearbook photo or well-dressed in court — but it's also a privilege that many others aren't afforded. If a black man had been charged with raping a woman behind a dumpster, would his mugshot go unreleased by law enforcement while the media used images of his yearbook photo instead?
The victim's impact statement described the pain and horror she went through that night and over the next year as she relived the experience, as well as what she'll endure for the rest of her life. She wasn't afforded the privilege of being spared any pain, but her white male athlete attacker was. Unfortunately, the release of his mugshot won't change his much-too-lenient sentence.
Image: Santa Clara County Office of the Sheriff (1)