Brock Turner Files Appeal in Stanford Sexual Assault Case

Former Stanford student Brock Turner who was convicted of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman after a fraternity party is now appealing his conviction. Witnesses saw Turner lying on top of a half-naked unconscious woman. The victim didn't wake up until three hours later and had a blood alcohol level more than three times the legal limit for driving.

Turner was convicted of three felony counts of sexual assault while he was a high performing swimmer at Stanford. He was sentenced to six months in jail, three years of probation, and to register as a sex offender. Prosecutors had asked for six years in prison.

His lawyers said that the initial trial was a detailed and lengthy set of lies, and they are hoping that a new trial will also overturn his mandatory lifetime requirement to register as a sex offender. Turner's legal advisor believes that what happened was not a crime, and that the facts do not reflect the verdict. The brief filed argued that the prosecutor incorrectly told jurors during the trial that the sexual assault happened behind a dumpster and that amounts to prosecutorial misconduct. He is also arguing that he was deprived of a fair trial because the jurors were not instructed to consider lesser criminal charges before they began deliberating and excluding testimony from character witnesses.

Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen made a statement that Turner received a fair trial and was justly convicted. Rosen believes that his conviction will be upheld.

Turner risks a second conviction by asking for another trial if it is granted by California's Sixth District Court of Appeal.

Comments from Allen:
DNA evidence proved that Turner's fingers had penetrated the victim's vagina, but there was no DNA evidence of genital-to-genital contact.  For this reason, the rape allegations were dropped.

Having sex with an unconscious woman is a felony crime, because one cannot consent to anything while unconscious.  Having sexual contact with an intoxicated woman is also a felony crime, because intoxication removes the ability to consent.

I also note that when the woman woke up, she had a blood alcohol content of three times the legal limit to be found to drunk to drive, about .24%.  At approximately that level of intoxication, a person's ability to recall what they are doing disappears.  In other words, a person with a BAC of .24 may know what they are doing at the time (unless unconscious, like the victim here), but the part of their brain which remembers what they are doing shuts off, beginning a period of memory blackout, and the memory function does not resume until the BAC falls below the shutoff level for that person.

In other words, this victim was too drunk to consent, had no ability to consent due to being unconscious, and even had she been conscious, she was probably too drunk to remember what happened to her and who did it.

These cases are very hard to prosecute, unless there are other witnesses.

In this case, two male Swedish grad students were biking by a Stanford frat house at 1 a.m. when they saw this guy behind a dumpster with the unconscious, half-naked victim.  The two stopped, and one of them said, "What the f*** are you doing?  She's unconscious."  Turner ran away, the two ran after him and pinned the laughing Mr. Turner down until campus police arrived.

At trial, Turner was asked why he was laughing about what he had done, and said he found the whole situation ridiculous.

Because other people witnessed the sexual assault (penetration with his fingers) in this case, Turner had to answer for a serious crime.  The jury found him "guilty."  Judge Persky gave him a very, very, very light sentence.

As a defense attorney, I am always one to advocate judges taking mitigating circumstances into account.  For example, there are some cases in which the defendant does not know the female is either too young to consent or too intoxicated to consent, and reasonably believes what he is doing is legal.

In this case, Santa Clara County Probation officials recommended a "moderate" sentence due to Turner's lack of criminal history, youth and expression of remorse.

I don't think any of that outweighs taking advantage of an unconscious coed, thinking you can get away with it because she won't know who had sexual contact with her.

Word of this very, very, very light sentence got around.  It got national attention.  People screamed for Judge Persky to step down.  He refused.  People tried to get the judge sanctioned for abusing his discretion.  It didn't work, because judges have A LOT of discretion when it comes to sentencing.  Finally, his reputation was so bad that in one criminal trial he had, 10 jurors refused to serve before him.  the public backlash caused Judge Persky to ask to be reassigned from handling criminal cases to handling only civil cases.

That did not satisfy the public.  A recall petition was circulated, and when the recall election was held, Judge Persky was removed from the bench.

What about our defendant?

Turner quit Stanford before it had a chance to initiate disciplinary proceedings., but within two weeks of the incident, Stanford announced that Turner had been banned from ever setting foot on campus again.  Turner's appeal will not affect this.

Turner had Olympic swimming aspirations.  However USA swimming permanently banned Turner from ever joining USA Swimming.  That move prohibits Turner from ever swimming in a competitive swim meet again, including Olympic Trials.  His swimming career is over.  Turner's appeal will not affect this.

Frankly, I am amazed that Turner's legal team recommends an appeal.  If his appeal is successful, he gets another trial.  If he gets another trial, he won't get Judge Persky, he will get someone else, someone who may give him a much tougher sentence than he got the first time.

I am betting Turner's victim hopes he is successful in his appeal.


Allen Browning is an attorney in Idaho Falls, Idaho who handles personal injury and criminal defense. He has over 30 years of experience and handled thousands of cases. Allen handles cases from all over Idaho. Call (208) 542-2700 to set up a free consultation if you are facing legal trouble or you have been involved in an accident.

Also, check out for more information about Allen and Browning Law.

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