Weighing in on the Brock Turner controversy

While a bit old, the basic issue behind the controversy surrounding this case will remain timely for quite some time, and is similar to the central issues in prior posts to this blog.

For those unfamiliar with the Brock Turner case, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peoplev.Turner offers a summary, as well as the news articles it links to therein. In the following paragraphs, I am assuming at least a basic layman’s familiarity with the case so I’m just going to get right into my thoughts.

My first thought centers around the sentence as approved by Judge Aaron Persky. I am only vaguely familiar with his history, mostly what is mentioned in the Wikipedia article. The only other case which was noteworthy to make the Wikipedia article about him was regarding a civil suit about a gang rape of a female victim by male athletes from De Anza College. That case was found in favor of the defendants, notably after Judge Persky allowed seven photos of the plaintiff taken at the party to be viewed by the jury.

With that in mind, the facts are that the probation department recommended a relatively lenient sentence:

Santa Clara County probation officials, including his probation officer Monica Lassettre, recommended that Turner is 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.

With that in mind, Mr. Turner serves his jail time (and gets credit for good behavior). Then he comes back to people protesting out in front of his house and threatening him. I get the impression these people are actually angry at the lenient sentence approved by Judge Persky, and unfortunately Mr. Turner is the easier, more publicized, and more visible target. The protesters need to add their voices to the people seeking to recall him from the bench. Mr. Turner’s role in this is to complete his sentence and abide by his conditions of probation for the next three years.

I don’t condone what Mr. Turner did at all. I find quite revolting the crimes of rape and sexual assault, particularly of someone incapacitated and incapable of consent. As I have said before this country is a country ruled by law, not by vigilante justice. I am disgusted that people have taken it upon themselves to protest in front of his house. All that does is make the protesters look like a bunch of animals. This isn’t the jungle, and the human race as a whole is more intelligent than that.

That said, I would like to see Mr. Turner’s successful reputation, and his successful completion of probation without further incident. I can understand the anger from people that think the sentence was too lenient. I would like to think that eventually reason will prevail and Mr. Turner will have a fair chance to successfully complete probation.