Brock Turner, the former Stanford University swimmer who was convicted of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman on campus — and served only three months behind bars — is appealing his conviction and has requested a new trial.
Turner was 19 at the time of the attack in January 2015. The sexual assault was witnessed by two Stanford graduate students who were riding their bikes through campus when they spotted Turner on top of a woman outside a fraternity house.
In 2016, a Santa Clara County jury found Turner guilty on three felony counts: assault with intent to commit rape of an intoxicated or unconscious person, penetration of an intoxicated person, and penetration of an unconscious person.
In the appeal, which was filed with California’s 6th District Court of Appeal, Turner’s lawyers claimed that their client was denied due process during his original trial. According to the appeal, prosecutors made the claim during Turner’s trial that the assault occurred “behind the dumpster.”
But Turner’s lawyers claim that the victim was found in an open setting — and that the mention of the word “dumpster” could have prejudiced the jury against Turner.
That description, according to the document:
“implied moral depravity, callousness and culpability on the appellant’s part because of the inherent connotations of filth, garbage, detritus, and criminal activity frequently associated with dumpsters.”
The appeal also claims Turner was denied a fair trial because witnesses who would testify to his good character were excluded by the court.
John Tompkins, Turner’s legal advisor, told KNTV that the assault was “not a crime.”
The case also provoked national outrage after Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky gave Turner a mere six-month jail sentence despite the recommended sentence having been six years.
Turner was then released after serving only half of that short sentence, only three months, but is required to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.
As a result of the controversy, Judge Persky — at his own request — no longer hears criminal cases.
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Main photo: Brock Turner [Santa Clara Sheriff’s Department]