News

Bill inspired by Brock Turner victim heads to governor’s desk

AB2888 would create mandatory prison sentence for sexual-assault crimes

Legislation proposed by Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen in the wake of controversy over the six-month sentencing of former Stanford University student-athlete Brock Turner for the sexual assault of an unconscious and intoxicated young woman has passed the state Assembly and is now headed to Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk.

The proposed bill, which would establish a mandatory prison sentence of three to eight years for anyone convicted of sexually assaulting an unconscious person, passed with a 66-0 vote on Monday. It unanimously passed the Senate on Aug. 16.

The proposed legislation would also make the consequences for rape and sexual assault of a person who is unconscious or incapable of giving consent due to intoxication the same as for a conscious person. Under current law, a person convicted of sexually assaulting a conscious person is not eligible for probation, while someone convicted of sexually assaulting an unconscious person can be granted probation, as Turner was.

The bill, AB2888, was officially introduced by California Assemblymen Evan Low, D-San Jose, and Bill Dodd, D-Napa. Assemblymembers Rob Bonta, D-Oakland, and Nora Campos, D-San Jose, as well as state Senators Joel Anderson, R-Alpine; Jim Beall, D-San Jose; Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo; and Jeff Stone, R-Temecula, coauthored the bill.

"Sexually assaulting an unconscious or intoxicated victim is a terrible crime and our laws need to reflect that," Dodd said in a statement. "Letting felons convicted of such crimes get off with probation discourages other survivors from coming forward and sends the message that raping incapacitated victims is no big deal."

In a statement, Low described Judge Aaron Persky’s sentencing decision in the Turner case as "unjustifiable and morally wrong," but within his legal discretion.

"Current law actually incentivizes rapists to get their victims intoxicated before assaulting them," he said. "While we can't go back and change what happened, we can make sure it never happens again."

At a June press conference announcing the proposed bill, Rosen said the legislation was inspired by the impact statement written by the woman that Turner sexually assaulted, known as Emily Doe.

"We've read her letter. Now let's give her back something beyond worldwide sympathy and anger," Rosen said on June 22. "Let's give her a legacy that will send the next Brock Turner to prison. Let's give the next sexual-assault victim no reason to fear that her attacker will be walking around free after spending less time in jail than a college semester."

Turner is set to be released early this Friday, Sept. 2, due to credit for good behavior, the county jail has confirmed. He will have served half of his sentence.

The bill's passage followed the announcement that Persky will no longer hear criminal cases, at his own request.

The Palo Alto Weekly has created Storify pages to capture ongoing coverage of the Brock Turner case as well as sexual-assault issues at Stanford University. To view them, go to storify.com/paloaltoweekly.

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Comments

15 people like this
Posted by student
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Aug 30, 2016 at 10:11 am

News reports say Brock Turner is getting out of jail this week after serving 3 months of his sentence.


18 people like this
Posted by vmshadle
a resident of Meadow Park
on Aug 30, 2016 at 11:32 am

vmshadle is a registered user.

I am very happy to see that this remedy was not only introduced by three Assemblyfolk but also enjoyed a long list of coauthors. Furthermore, it passed both houses of the Assembly unanimously. Last but not least, my gratitude goes to Jeff Rosen for proposing it in the first place. All in all, it took very little time for the State of California to remedy the absurd rape-vs.-sexual-assault distinctions in the old laws.

AB2888 will not undo the damage to Emily Doe's life, but she may fairly claim original credit for making sure this doesn't re-victimize anyone else.


16 people like this
Posted by Hopeful
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 30, 2016 at 12:16 pm

Hopeful is a registered user.

Hoping the guv sign this bill, so that no creep that does this to an unconscious victim will get such a mild " punishment" again!


6 people like this
Posted by Hulkamania
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 30, 2016 at 12:28 pm

Hulkamania is a registered user.

Good luck to Brock with the rest of his life. His name has been plastered on the front page of every fish rap in the country, he was tossed out of Stanford and will have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life. And, his competitive swim career sunk.

[Portion removed.]


15 people like this
Posted by Yup
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 30, 2016 at 1:07 pm

Yup is a registered user.

This will be known as "The Brock Turner Law", should it pass.

Nice claim to fame, Brock!


1 person likes this
Posted by Big
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 30, 2016 at 9:58 pm

Big is a registered user.

Brock should not have done it.
They did right to report it.

But I am pretty appalled by the mob screaming for revenge here. The judge is now a casualty. The bandwagon of righteous indignation is a bit extreme.

[Portion removed.]

Brock has had more than his punishment. His career, his life forever tarnished. [Portion removed.]


14 people like this
Posted by BillyBob
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 31, 2016 at 1:10 am

BillyBob is a registered user.

On the other hand, Brock is quite fortunate that he did not get sentenced to real time and sent to a real prison, where he just might have been dealt a similar hand that he dealt Emily Doe.

The more we have, the more we have to lose, so no sympathy for the boy that had it all, and still chose to take, with no remorse for the pain and anguish he caused.

The woman in this case is also serving a life sentence. The difference? She didn't victimize someone else, she just drank a little too much.

Long live "The Brock Turner Law."


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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