Brock Turner was released from Santa Clara County Jail on Sept. 2, after serving only half of his original six-month prison sentence. Back in June, Judge Aaron Persky gave Turner this relatively lenient sentence, despite prosecutors' recommendation that he be sentenced to six years in a state prison after being convicted on three felony counts for sexually assaulting an unconscious woman. Although Turner has been released, his trial lawyer said that Turner would appeal his conviction, the Associated Press reported.
Turner is being represented by Solomon Robert Wollack through the Sixth District Appellate Program, according to court records. AP explained that this program provides court-appointed appeals attorneys to defendants who cannot afford them. Wollack told AP that he and his client "are still very early in the process at this time," because the appeals court has reportedly not yet received the trial record from Turner's trial.
However, this isn't a new development in Turner's case. On the day of Turner's sentencing hearing back in June, San Francisco attorney Dennis Riordan reportedly filed a notice to appeal Turner's conviction, San Jose Mercury News reported. It has been apparent since his sentencing that Turner was planning to appeal his conviction, and not his sentence.
But what would it mean for Turner to appeal his conviction now? For one thing, because a notice to appeal had been filed, Persky was prohibited from commenting on the case, as Newsweek reported. However, there is a difference between appealing a sentence and appealing a conviction. Turner has technically already served his jail sentence, though he was released early due to "good behavior" and overcrowding in local jails, but he still has probation time left. If he appeals his conviction, as he is reportedly planning to do, there are a few possible outcomes, according to Nolo.com. Turner could appeal for a change in verdict, a new trial, or a reversal of his conviction by a higher court.
During his trial, Turner was found guilty of three felony charges. He could ask the trial judge to overturn the jury's original verdict and enter a not-guilty verdict in its place. But if he asks for a new trial, things could get a little more complicated. Critics of Persky's lenient sentence, like Texas Rep. Ted Poe, hope Turner gets his appeal so that he might face harsher consequences. And if Turner asks for a reversal of his conviction from a higher appeals court and is denied, he could go to California's highest court, and then the U.S. Supreme Court — though these higher courts could always refuse to review Turner's case. It may very well be that Turner is seeking to have his case reopened and his conviction dismissed so it doesn't appear on his criminal record, though it's still unclear what's next for him.
In any case, Turner's release does not signify the end of his case, and any appeal in the works is still in its early phases.
Image: Santa Clara Police Department (1)