Brock Turner Appeals His Sexual Assault Conviction & His Legal Adviser Argues What He Did Was "Not A Crime"
On Friday, lawyers for the former Stanford University student Brock Turner appealed his sexual assault conviction, insisting that the trial he underwent back in 2016 was, according to The Los Angeles Times, "a detailed and lengthy set of lies." Turner was convicted of three felony accounts of sexual assault of an unconscious woman in 2015, but the judge presiding over the case, Aaron Persky, sentenced him to just six months in prison. He ultimately only served three.
Persky drew outrage and condemnation for the sentencing decision, and it sparked efforts to recall him from the bench. Turner was released from prison in September 2016, and has been free ever since. He does, however, have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life. The appeal on Friday is seen as an effort to undo that requirement.
According to CNN, Turner's attorneys have claimed that his conviction was "fundamentally unfair," and are pushing for a new trial in the hopes of fully exonerating him. One part of their claim is that the victim in the case was not assaulted "behind a dumpster," as asserted in his first trial and by the media, and that characterizing the scene as such prejudiced the jury against Turner.
A legal adviser for Turner, John Tompkins, doesn't deny the event happened, but insists it wasn't criminal.
As Rolling Stone details, the element of the appeal centering on the assault taking place behind a dumpster argues that the description suggests Turner was trying to conceal his activities. In addition to negative connotations that come with envisioning an incident taking place behind a dumpster, such as:
The defense is reportedly arguing that the assault took place in a "completely open setting."
There was an immense amount of public scrutiny on Turner's trial, especially by virtue of the words of his anonymous victim. In a statement, most of which was delivered directly to Turner, she described the experience of falling unconscious at a party on the Stanford campus, and awaking in a hospital to learn she'd been sexually assaulted. It read, in part:
You can read her full statement here, as reported by BuzzFeed.
The case drew even more attention when Vice President Joe Biden weighed in, writing an open letter to Turner’s victim praising her courage, and commenting that her words were “forever seared on my soul.”
It remains to be seen whether Turner’s appeal attempt will be successful. As for Persky, he’s still facing a recall effort over his initial, light sentencing of Turner ― an appeals court recently denied his effort to halt the petition against him.