Stanford Rape Case Raises Vital Questions of Justice, Consent

A jury of peers saw Brock Turner the rapist who sexually assaulted an incapacitated woman by a dumpster. A Santa Clara County judge, evidently, saw Brock Turner the Stanford University swimmer, a promising young athlete inveigled by scandal.

In the end, the 20-year-old was convicted as a predator but sentenced as a swimmer. Probation recommended a year in prison. State guidelines called for at least two—14 at most. Judge Aaron Persky gave him six months in jail, with a shot at getting out in three.

“A prison sentence would have a severe impact on him,” Persky reasoned in court earlier this month. “I think he will not be a danger to others.”

The leniency of the punishment—rare in an age of mass incarceration—and that it favored an athlete already privileged by affluence and whiteness sparked public protest. The victim’s searing courtroom account of the January 2015 assault fanned the flame into moral outrage.

“You don’t know me, but you’ve been inside me,” she began her 7,138-word statement, “and that’s why we’re here today.”

Those thousands of words, which pulled millions of people into her pain with their vivid detail, went insanely viral. Those words flipped the narrative. In the court of public opinion, if not in Judge Persky’s chambers, justice was not served.

As if to complete Turner’s rebranding from champion swimmer to rapist, police released two mugshots after his June 3 sentencing, one taken the morning of his initial arrest and the other during his recent booking. Newspapers and TV stations swapped school photos of a clean-scrubbed and smiling all-American athlete with the watery-eyed deer-in-the-headlights mug shots of a perpetrator caught in the act.

Brock Turner's mug shot from the night of the assault.

Brock Turner (Source: Santa Clara County)

The Stanford case has become emblematic of what feminists call rape culture, a culture that blames victims and normalizes male sexual violence. It’s a culture that judges women by their past and men by their future.

During the trial, Emily Doe defended her reputation while Turner talked up his potential, his Olympic aspirations, and blamed what his dad glibly called “20 minutes of action” on drinking and promiscuity.

The public directed their anger not only toward Turner but Judge Persky, a former prosecutor appointed to the bench in 2003 by Gov. Gray Davis.

On Monday, a juror in the case told the Palo Alto Weekly the outcome “makes a mockery of the whole trial” and that the judge should be ashamed for going easy on Turner. That same day, the District Attorney’s Office successfully filed a motion to remove Persky from an upcoming trial for a male nurse accused of sexually violating an unconscious patient.

Meanwhile, as the judge coasts to perfunctory re-election this November for lack of a challenger, he faces a petition for his recall that’s racked up more than a million signatures. Several state legislators have joined the cry to oust him over “prejudicial misconduct.”

“Judicial rulings like Judge Persky’s … discourage the reporting of these devastating crimes by reinforcing the fear that justice will not be served,” reads a letter to the California Commission on Judicial Performance signed by 13 state Assembly members. “[T]hey demonstrate that there are two systems of justice: one for people of privilege such as elite athletes, and one for everyone else.”

Salient points. But the growing demand to right this wrong raises important questions that have been reverberating throughout the legal community and at Stanford, where the conversation about campus sexual assault has reached a fevered pitch.

Does justice equal more punishment? Should a judge lose his or her job over an unpopular ruling? What effect would that have on other jurists, many of whom face the political pressures that come with elected office? Would a recall undermine the constitutional provision for judicial independence? How can victims and their advocates channel the intense interest in the Stanford case to teach people about sexual consent? What about cases in which the victim is something other than a cisgender woman? What about cases with several more shades of gray?

At Turner’s alma mater, where the U.S. Department of Education tallied 26 reported rapes in 2014, a group of victims launched an online petition for the school to publish the names of students found guilty of sexual assault. The campaign has drawn backlash, however, including from other victims. Erika Lynn Kreeger, a 23-year-old rape survivor and trans student at Stanford, has been trying to foster a more nuanced dialogue about sexual crime, punishment and consent among peers.

“I’m very deeply horrified by what Brock Turner did,” the earth science major tells San Jose Inside. “But I’ve been very disturbed by how people are talking about this in ways that absolve everyone else from blame. We’re further entrenching this idea that some of us are incapable of harm and others are scum of the earth who do these horrible things and need to be locked up. In reality, the vast majority of us live somewhere in between. There’s this idea that someone’s a rapist because they rape instead of seeing them as a product of this culture of non-consent that implicates all of us.”

The reality of sexual assault, of course, is vastly more complicated than the dichotomy of ruthless predator and defenseless victim. Rather than focusing on a limiting term such as “rape culture,” Kreeger wants to explore the broader idea of non-consent and how it teaches people that their identity privileges them to other people’s bodies.

“[W]e are taught that … white people can touch black and brown women’s hair without permission,” Kreeger and fellow Stanford scholar Lily Zheng wrote in an op-ed for The Stanford Political Journal. “[T]hat cisgender people can bluntly ask transgender, gender-variant and intersex people about their genitalia; that men are always entitled to women’s/femme’s/non-binary folx’s [sic] energy, emotional labor and bodies.”

In the absence of education about consent and communicative sex, they argue, latent entitlement can morph into unwanted advances or assault. Accounts that have surfaced after Turner’s sentencing shed light on his upbringing in an affluent Ohio suburb, where families expect academic and athletic excellence but hesitate to tell their children “no.”

At Stanford, there’s a century-old tradition called “Full Moon on the Quad” in which hundreds of freshmen engage in a liquored-up free-for-all make-out session. Last year, Turner’s swim team tied new guys up with rope and wouldn’t release them until they swapped spit with a stranger. It’s a small thing and doesn’t absolve Turner of guilt, Kreeger says, but it illustrates the type of cultures that shaped him, the context that may have emboldened his sense of entitlement to his victim’s body.

Systemic neglect of sexual assault victims has turned the Stanford rape case into a flashpoint that may portend a shift in public attitudes. The 23-year-old victim—known anonymously as Emily Doe—told a probation officer that she didn’t want her attacker to “rot away in prison,” but she hoped for more than a “soft timeout” in a local jail.

Though District Attorney Jeff Rosen decried the light sentence, saying the punishment did not fit the crime, he said it should not cost Judge Persky his job. The Santa Clara County Bar Association echoed that sentiment. “Judges have a duty to apply the law to the facts and evidence before them, regardless of public opinion or political pressure,” the association of lawyers declared last week. “In that role, judges provide an important check against other political forces.”

Public Defender Molly O’Neal—reportedly a vocal feminist with a college-aged daughter—joined them in Persky’s defense. The verdict that confirmed Turner’s guilt and rendered him a cautionary figure, she says, has already vindicated Emily Doe.

Not many would agree. Restorative justice, at least to Kreeger, should err in favor of the ones wronged. For now it seems that more vindication in this case came outside the courtroom, in Emily Doe’s eloquent words that voiced the plight of other victims.

Jennifer Wadsworth is a staff writer for San Jose Inside and Metro Newspaper. Email tips to [email protected] or follow her on Twitter at @jennwadsworth.

51 Comments

  1. The fact that the author continually uses the word rape to inaccurately depict the nature of the crime, the victim, and the perpetrator reveals that her interest in reporting the truth is trumped by her commitment to her political agenda. With this piece, Ms. Wadsworth has reduced herself, and her voice at SJI, to the level of a bumper sticker best left unread.

    If being drunk and on the make cannot justify Mr. Turner’s abuse of his victim, being emotional and on a crusade cannot justify the media’s abuse of the truth.

    • If we need to argue if this is technically a rape and have to look up the definition on wikipedia, then chances are this is not your typical rape. This is a teenager who fingered a woman. It is not a brutal horrific rape deserving national attention. Except for the pine needles on the victim’s back there really isn’t any lasting physical effects. The lifelong psychological scars are hard to believe because the victim doesn’t remember any of this happening. Its like saying you were psychologically traumatized by a surgery because they cut open your skin while you were under anesthesia.

      On the other hand, truly brutal rapes occur every day in this country, where the weak and vulnerable are tied up, beaten and raped. If the victim was an illegal migrant, or a mentally disabled woman, there would be no press coverage, no commentaries from Joe Biden, and no protests or even a discussion. Its just business as usual. I originally signed the petition against the judge, but since then I have learned more about the case and regret having signed it.

      All this hype is not really about protecting the weak and vulnerable, as much as about furthering certain political agendas. The message here is, do not make unwanted sexual contact with professional scholarly women who can articulate eloquent speeches. Do not touch even if she says yes because she could pass out any moment and claim she doesn’t remember saying yes. Instead, go prey on the weak and the vulnerable. They won’t say anything so eloquent, and no one is going to care anyway. Overall, I find the hype and exaggeration around this fairly minor rape case pretty disgusting and insulting for those who are truly affected by violent sexual assaults.

      • Well said – Justice For All – but get your steel armor on cause the victim’s rights and self righteous are gonna lambaste you for going against popular opinion and the clamoring media-induced perpetual victim syndrome. Did the Joe Bidens of the world sprint to Jaycee Dugard’s defense? No!http://abcnews.go.com/US/jaycee_dugard/jaycee-dugard-interview-describes-giving-birth-phillip-garridos/story?id=14021938

        Did they come to Elizabeth Smart’s defense? No. http://www.deseretnews.com/article/700079592/Elizabeth-Smart-describes-rapes-sex-abuse-imprisonment-threats.html?pg=all

        Please! This is all because it involved two drinking, partying and irresponsible “college students” and this issue is the “current focus of congress and Senator Claire McCaskill that is the driving force.

      • This was a brutal and horrific rape. All rapes are brutal and all rapes are horrific. It is most likely she will suffer lifelong psychological scars and the not knowing is likely to make that worse, not better. Its disturbing that anyone could consider any rape “fairly minor”. This author is correct that we do need extensive education on consent. I agree with most of what Kreeger says, but I think the comment that most of live in the middle, while true, really has little to do with the conversation. Ultimately, I believe the vast majority of these crimes are committed by a small minority that are definitely not in the middle.

    • So, sexual penetration without consent shouldn’t be considered rape? What defines rape, then? Does the perpetrator have to insert his penis all the way? Or just the tip? Does the perpetrator have to be attracted to the victim? Does the perpetrator have to ejaculate? If so, does he have to ejaculate inside the victim’s vagina?

      I think you’re not considering something important: whether the victim is penetrated by a penis, fingers, or any other object, it is still the ultimate violation of her – or his – being. Playing word games is deeply offensive, because it suggests that the victim’s rights to physical autonomy are less important than the perpetrator’s rights. That’s not OK. It really isn’t.

      • Playing word games? Are you under the impression, as so many seem to be these days, that the questions you raised are new to issues of human behavior? How about this for specificity: penetration, however slight? It’s been in the penal code forever.

        If you and the hysterical mob want to change the law, have at it. But given your disregard for the law as it exists today, I see little chance that you won’t, upon first provocation, join a new mob in screaming, “this isn’t right!”

        Someday, when everyone thinks with little girl logic, maybe satisfaction will be yours.

        • “Little girl logic”?

          “Hysterical mob”?

          Fin fan…please see a counselor of some kind, any kind really. You are denying yourself the chance to learn something very important about yourself that is obvious to many of us reading your words but is hidden to you. Seek help.

          • Jill,

            Why would I want to see a counselor? I’m put off by weak-minded people, I detest charlatans and parasites, and I’m a stranger to anxiety, self-doubt, and sleepless nights. I view counselors as suppositories of psychobabble, but if that’s a form of treatment you enjoy, who am I to judge?

        • If we’re parsing legal terms, use the entire federally established legal definition of rape, not the first few words.

          The new Summary definition of Rape is: “Penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.”

          Now states can and often do break various acts into separate laws, but make no mistake about it, sexual penetration of any kind without consent is rape.

          You are not a lawyer, you are not even a fully sworn law enforcement officer. Frankly you’re ignorance, misogyny and racism has reached the point of sickening.

          I’ll say one more time… do your co-workers a favor stop working so hard to make yourself the next embarrassment the boss drags through the media.

          • CaseyThomas,

            You must have been so busy pulling your hair out you forgot to include input from Sharia law.

            There is this bizarre concept in the law called jurisdiction, and in the Turner case the jurisdiction in which the act occurred was determined by the location and the type of crime. That jurisdiction was the state, the governing code was California Penal Code, and those definitions (that you accuse me of parsing) are elements of the crime.

            I guess they came up with this jurisdiction thing just to keep lunatics who think the world should work based on how they think from challenging court decisions ad infinitum. That sound like anyone you know?

        • You’re confused again Fin. I really hope you’re not having these conversations on duty. If you are, better hope I don’t find out.

          Here, let me read the FBI standardized legal definition to you again: “Penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.”

          We’re not talking jurisdictional issues, we’re talking a legal definition for used for reporting standards for police departments across the country. I know it’s a subtle difference that is maybe to subtle for the average misogynist like yourself seeking to maintain a level of acceptance for sexual assault as long as it’s not with a penis.

          These cases are all standardized or subcategorized under the term rape because that is what they are, it will be reported to UCR as a rape. Because it is a rape. Rape is the overall umbrella term of all the acts that involve sexual penetration of any kind or degree – even if local or state laws further break it out to subcategories like penetration with a foreign object.

          I have to say it’s pathetic to see a man so sadly insecure with himself that they have to mansplain rape to women. And now I may never forgive you for making me use that word, a term I hate. There is unfortunately no other word that defines the stupidity of your parsing on this subject.

          Do yourself a favor, man the hell up and stop whining about men being infringed upon by word after they sexually assault someone; do society a favor as well, if you can’t see your way to understanding you’re in the wrong career, at least try not to shake the man’s hand while he’s in your house.

    • Rape is not the real issue here. It may actually be more of an excuse. It is much easier for the victim to think of herself as a “victim” than to admit what she obviously actually is; an alcoholic. That’s not a put-down; it’s more of a diagnosis. Let’s examine the words from her own “victim manifesto” that she gave to the court.

      The victim stated that her “tolerance (for alcohol) had significantly lowered since college”. What was it in college? Was she able to binge drink the same amount of booze that she had in this incident without passing out behind a dumpster? (Strong alcohol tolerance = alcoholic)

      The victim advised that she called her boyfriend “that night in my blackout” (Blackout = alcoholic). By her own admission, this victim didn’t even know she had supposedly been raped until she read about it in the news on her phone a day or two later?!?

      The victim “left an incomprehensible voicemail”. What were the incomprehensible words she gave the privileged little “W-word” boy? If the victim was stinking drunk and the little “W-word” boy was stinking drunk, could a verbal misunderstanding regarding consent have occurred between two slobbering drunks who were talking in an “incomprehensible” way? It’s not outside the realm of reasonable possibility, is it? Of course, it’s easier on the psyche of an alcoholic to think of themselves as a victim and deny that they have a drinking problem. (Denial = alcoholic).

      Let’s see, the victim had built up a tolerance to heavy drinking, has blackouts and is obviously in denial. Unfortunately, this denial is enabled and reinforced by all those with political agendas who make money promoting the notion of a “rape culture”. (Read the story of the false narrative foisted on the public by Rolling Stone magazine’s “A Rape on Campus” article by Sabrina Erdely).

      And yes, yes an alcoholic can be raped but this case seems vastly different than one where some predatory pervert lays in wait in the bushes preparing to pounce on some totally innocent, coherent victim. The judge’s sentencing decision seems to have taken that into consideration even against the howling of the were-gyno wolves.

      I don’t care about some little “W-word” boy, privileged or not. Let him go to jail and become someone’s prison wife for all I care but the shrill shrieks of the politico-feminist, gyno-fascists are just attempts to intimidate and bully the judge, the court system and quivering politicians and thus further the feminist agenda and narrative.

      • First, let’s see… “were-gyno wolves,” “politico-feminist, gyno-fascists,” “feminist agenda and narrative.” Yeah, you’re obviously the one who sees the issues here clearly without a trace of misogyny.

        Second, I didn’t see anyone deny that the victim likely has a drinking problem; please tell us where you read that denial.

        Third, the Rolling Stone article you mention was an inexcusable lapse of proper journalistic practices, but I didn’t see it as an attempt to “foist” anything on the public. A troubled young woman made up a story about being raped to win sympathy and affection from a boy she had fallen for. Erdely believed her and foolishly acceded to her requests not to contact her friends or the campus organizations that were supposedly involved.

        Fourth, as to your contention that the encounter could actually have been consensual: have you ever heard of a young man, discovered in the middle of consensual sexual activity, jumping up and running, leaving his partner behind? I certainly haven’t and, as a man, I can’t imagine anyone behaving like that unless they know that they have been caught committing a sexual assault.

      • “And yes, yes an alcoholic can be raped but this case seems vastly different than one where some predatory pervert lays in wait in the bushes preparing to pounce on some totally innocent, coherent victim.”

        Vastly different? He didn’t wait in the bushes and she was incoherent. Besides that there is little difference. In fact this case seems worse.

        Rape actually is the real issue here. Not alcoholism, or some horrible feminist/wolf conspiracy to hold people accountable for a rape.

    • While it is very difficult to read the story without having a bit of anger directed toward the writer (quotes from “accredited” individuals, and an overall feeling of hatred of everything male in the story), I must side with Hope.

      While I disagree with your definition of rape, regardless of what you call it, 6 months (actually only 3 after the bargaining is finished), falls woefully short of the punishment which should be demanded by rational people. Lying comatose, drunk, clothing askew and seemingly approachable…..is not an invitation for anyone to take advantage. Quite the opposite, it is an opportunity for an individual to show character, compassion and restraint. This is only one thing that separates us from animals.

      This young man is an animal.

  2. “Rape is a type of sexual assault usually involving sexual intercourse or other forms of sexual penetration perpetrated against a person without that person’s consent.” — Wikipedia

    “Rape: unlawful sexual activity and usually sexual intercourse carried out forcibly or under threat of injury against the will […]” — Merriam-Webster

    “The penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.” — US Justice Department

  3. Congratulations to the experts above, who managed to make their case by ignoring the law of the land. With the likes of Hope For Compassion issuing dictates and Alexis quoting Wikipedia, who needs the California penal code?

    • Here’s the national reporting definition of rape from the FBI. You know, the federal agency that uphold the “law of the land”?

      “Penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.”

      Trust me, someone ever bends you over against your will and uses a foreign object on you, you’re going to say you were raped. Because that is exactly what will have happened to you.

      So much for your expert status.

  4. “Judges have a duty to apply the law to the facts and evidence before them, regardless of public opinion or political pressure…” Exactly. The judge needs to be removed precisely because he decided to ignore the facts and evidence before him demonstrating that the defendant lied. The defendant lied about not drinking or taking drugs as evidenced by messages found by the prosecution. The defendant lied about the woman consenting as evidenced by his running from the scene when discovered by passersby. People engaging in consensual sexual activity don’t run leaving their partner behind.

    • Freon,

      “People engaging in consensual sexual activity don’t run leaving their partner behind”…

      You’re right. I ran away when I heard her boyfriend rattling the door knob. Thankfully we were on the first floor and the window was open.

  5. – “have you ever heard of a young man, discovered in the middle of consensual sexual activity, jumping up and running, leaving his partner behind?”–

    Not at all uncommon, particularly when the pair is interrupted in a public place. The male will often run from the police because of the female’s age or his own marital status. In the case of Mr. Turner, his running away may have been due to his sense of wrongdoing (possible if he felt he was violating a religious tenet, common decency, or the law), it may have been fear-based (could these be friends of hers, perhaps even her boyfriend?), it may have been panic. The defendant himself may have no idea why he did what he did: he was drunk. But to interpret his running as convincing evidence that he lied about her giving consent (which is immaterial anyway, based on her blood alcohol level) is to confuse evidence with speculation.

    I can remember two cases involving guys from my neighborhood having rape warrants issued because they ran from the police after being discovered in flagrante delicto, aware that their hot little Catholic partners would deny having consented out of fear of their family’s reaction. Fortunately for the accused, the girls’ stories couldn’t make it past the experienced detectives and the charges were dropped. Had you, Freon, been making the call, I’m sure the guys would’ve rotted in prison.

  6. Mischaracterizing the crimes as rape diminishes the author’s credibility. Is it intentional or based upon ignorance? Has she read the probation report upon which the Judge relied, along with other material? According to the probation officer, the defendant expressed sincere remorse.
    The knee jerk reaction to an unpopular punishment does not serve the public. In fact, it will chill the ability of Judges to exercise discretion. This was a legal sentence. If you do not like it, try to change the law.
    Get your facts straight.

  7. Inexperienced drinkers are the most likely to drink to unconsciousness, because they are experienced in knowing how much to drink to maintain their pleasant buzz, and because the livers of habitual drinkers are very good at breaking down ethanol. Further, being blackout drunk is just a stage of being drunk, not a sign of being an alcoholic.

    • Whoops! Should be “because they are NOT experienced in knowing how much to drink…”

  8. I think the judge’s problem is misidentification of what happened.
    What’s normal is for women to want to have sex, while not being identified as the s-word. Therefore they get a little tipsy to reduce their inhibitions, and to blame their willingness to participate on the alcohol.
    But this is a pleasant fiction, far, far from the level of intoxication the victim experienced on that night.

  9. Huh? The two Swedish students said they thought she was DEAD. Another person saw Brock Turner taking photos of her breasts, which he then Tweeted to all his pals.

    It was a rape.

  10. Stuff and nonsense. He was TAKING PHOTOS of her breasts and he sent them to his friends. He ran away because he was sexually assaulting a girl that the two Swedes thought was dead and had taken photos of her breasts while she was unconscious. He ran away because he didn’t want to get caught

  11. District Attorney Rosen is playing an interesting role in this matter. According to several members of the county bar, Rosen is actually protecting the judge in two ways. First, by setting the judge aside in a similar case. The local daily paper frames that as a kind of punishment, but my friends in the bar tell me that Rosen did it to protect the judge and to prevent another dust-up with angry Stanford students about their “rape culture.” My lawyer friends said that it is an application of the old rule, “When you are in a hole, stop digging.” Readers can imagine the scrutiny and analysis that would be brought to bear on another sex-related case so soon.

    Second, Rosen is protecting the judge from media scrutiny and analysis by the too-clever appeal of the six-months sentence to a higher court, something that Rosen has no possibility of winning. But it does give the judge an out in refusing interviews and comments about the current case, an invaluable givt, no punishment at all. It is genuinely humorous that few commenters believe Rosen is doing anything else but giving the judge valuable cover.

    • I find it difficult to put DA Rosen on the same team as Judge Persky, no matter what his actions in the wake of the controversy. Mr. Rosen’s office charged the young defendant, a student at a university where coeds were already seeing rapists falling from the sky, with the crime of rape, despite the lack of evidence to support it. This was tantamount to throwing gasoline on a fire. It mattered not that the rape charges were thrown out at the preliminary exam, for by that time the case had been burned in the bleeding hearts and empty heads of feminist activists as a rape case, a branding the media picked up and is now holding tight as circulation/ratings soar.

      The practice of overcharging defendants, once primarily utilized to spirit career criminals and nuisance cases through the system, has now become the go to strategy whenever there is political capital to be gained. The DA turned out Mr. Turner the way a pimp turns out a sexy woman, with the unmistakable intent of getting everyone to want to f*** him.

      • I’m going to get a part-time job rolling drunks, because obviously they consented to my taking their wallets — being drunk and all, that is.

  12. I can’t help but wonder whether The Metro Management pay frustrated finfanand his folllowers (and sock puppets?) to spew his sociopathic venom – which anyone one, no matter the gender, with any semblance of human kindness woud be outraged by – in order to keep up online revenues, while utterly horrifying anyone gravitated to articles which might possibly address the stunningly inhuman inequality taking place in Silicon Valley.

    • Why would any Bay Area news organization pay for such services when this area is already teeming with people who’ve been conditioned by defects in their educations, parents, and/or brain chemistry to be outraged full-time?

    • > I can’t help but wonder whether The Metro Management pay frustrated finfanand his folllowers (and sock puppets?) to spew his sociopathic venom

      I’m sorry. I wasn’t paying attention.

      Metro PAYS people for posting on SJI? Who knew, and WHERE”S MINE?

      I’ve been waiting for my checks from Big Oil to show up in my mailbox for denying global warming, but so far they’ve been just a bunch of deadbeats.

      If people can actually get paid for spewing, where do I get on the gravy train?

  13. I agree Diane. I do not believe fin fan is authentic. It has become silly at this point to think he or she is “real”.

  14. CaseyThomas,

    It is a waste of time to attempt to discuss a case that was prosecuted and adjudicated according to California law with someone who, in an apparent attempt to avoid being proved wrong, wants to pretend that California law doesn’t matter. My original comments on this case had to do with defending Judge Persky for the sentence he imposed — one recommended by the probation department, for a conviction that did not include a count of rape.

    That you and others insist on pretending differently changes nothing. The data banks and definitions of uninvolved jurisdictions change nothing. But go ahead and keep trying, serving your delusions apparently pleases you.

  15. According to an exclusive investigation by In Touch, featuring in this week’s issue, the women’s swim team at Stanford were wary of Turner (a member of the college’s men’s swim team) long before he sexually assaulted an unconscious woman behind a dumpster last January. “Brock’s arrest wasn’t surprising to anyone on the team,” an anonymous swim team insider told In Touch. “From the beginning, the women swimmers had found him very, very odd. Brock would make comments to the women such as ‘I can see your t—s in that swimsuit.”

    In an even more disturbing detail, In Touch’s source says the women from the swim team tried to come forward during Turner’s trial and tell the judge about some of the negative experiences they’d had with him. But those discussions and the possibility of sending letters to the judge were apparently halted. “There were rumblings that the women were pressured by Stanford officials not to do it since they hadn’t witnessed any crime that Brock had committed,” the source said.

    • Turner could see another swimmer’s t*ts through her swimsuit?
      Good thing he wasn’t on the yoga team.

  16. Let’s slow the run-away train a bit. All the hype here is because the college rape issue is on the “radar of congress and Senator Claire McCaskill'” Think that is ludicrous….think about it. Did the Joe Bidens of the world weight in on the Jaycee Dugard kidnapping in California. I tried to post with a link but I guess they don’t allow that so just Google it. She was held for almost two decades living in a tent in the back yard and had two children by the guy whose wife was a participant….or how about Elizabeth Smart in Utah who was kidnapped and raped every day for 9 months. You know what the difference between these two stories and the media-induced rage surrounding this story? I’m not sure some will get it but it is the two Stanford folks were participating in the college, drinking, partying and irresponsible behavior. Maybe some journalist should go back and see if Duggard or Smart delivered such a victim letter which could have taken all day to read and some don’t even know who they are. Why? Because they have chosen to stay out of the public view and move on.

  17. Vicki Henry, a frustrated finfan, et al, sock puppet?:

    Vicki Henry Jun 19, 2016 @ 5:19 pm

    Let’s slow the run-away train a bit. All the hype here is because the college rape issue is on the “radar of congress and Senator Claire McCaskill’” Think that is ludicrous….think about it. Did the Joe Bidens of the world weight in on the Jaycee Dugard kidnapping in California. I tried to post with a link but I guess they don’t allow that so just Google it. She was held for almost two decades living in a tent in the back yard and had two children by the guy whose wife was a participant….

    “Funny” that you so brazenly wrote the above, and more, while sounding absolutely like the type of neighbor, who allowed the Jaycee Dugard and Elizabeth Smart Rapes to go on, … and on, …. and on ….., and on …..

    There’s a name for your type (whether you’re being paid to spew venom, or doing it for free): Sociopath.

    • LOL…you are way off-base. You are looking for conformist and those who are more educated about the entire subject are not welcomed in the debate.

    • There’s a simpler name for Vicki’s technique: “Squirrel! Look over there!”
      Did those kidnappers get let off with a slap on the wrist?
      Those events were years ago and relatively far away, while the rape and the trial occurred in our county. Who can recall the press coverage?

  18. Great writing, but I think the author may be missing the point. This isn’t about rape. It’s about CA judges thinking they are above the law and beyond reproach when practicing unlawful bias from their benches.

    • The issue is the light sentence the judge gave the rapist.
      Is the sentence range mandatory, or is it a guideline?
      If it’s a guideline, is it appropriate to be merciful to the rapist? Is it ever acceptable to be merciful to a rapist?

      • That seems close to right. The only legal issue to be decided is “Did Judge Persky’s light sentencing of a three-count-convicted-rapist, rise to the level of bias that it breached lawful judicial ethics?” I think he did violate California Canons of Judicial Ethics by giving preferential treatment to a college athlete from his alma mater, where he was also a college athlete.

        A group of recent Stanford law grads just allowed published a letter they wrote dissing Professor Dauber for her efforts to bring the judicial ethics violations to public light. There letter is a little concerning and indicative that Stanford may need to review their teachings of legal ethics for tomorrow’s lawyers.

        This is what they wrote and oddly chose to let be published:
        https://acjusticeproject.org/2016/06/22/stanford-law-school-graduates-submit-letter-to-reconsider-recall-effort-of-judge-persky/

        Here’s my comment (that they chose NOT to publish) on the above illogical letter blog :

        Although well written, this published letter is self-contradictory. The gist appears to be that some law students are concerned of the dangers of public perception influencing what occurs in legal proceedings. Yet, the students have allowed the publication on the Internet of what appears to be a private letter to a law professor; thereby giving the appearance of the students’ own intent to influence public perception to influence what occurs in legal proceedings. As a result, the published letter is self-evident of promoting the same concept it attempts to refute.

        Additionally, if these recent Stanford graduates are intending to practice law in California, it may behoove them to study the California Canons of Judicial Ethics and Commission on Judicial Performance (CJP) Rules. Both address judicial punishment for legal error stemming from judicial bias which rises to a level that erodes public confidence in the judiciary.

        Canons: http://www.courts.ca.gov/documents/ca_code_judicial_ethics.pdf

        “Law, the legal system, or the administration of justice. When a judge engages in an activity that relates to the law, the legal system, or the administration of justice, the judge should also consider factors such as whether the activity upholds the integrity, impartiality, and independence of the judiciary (Canons 1 and 2A), whether the activity impairs public confidence in the judiciary (Canon 2), whether the judge is allowing the activity to take precedence over judicial duties (Canon 31 3A)…

        Canon 3 A JUDGE SHALL PERFORM THE DUTIES OF JUDICIAL OFFICE IMPARTIALLY, COMPETENTLY, AND DILIGENTLY

        3B. Adjudicative Responsibilities (5) A judge shall perform judicial duties without bias or prejudice. A judge shall not, in the performance of judicial duties, engage in speech, gestures, or other conduct that would reasonably be perceived as (a) bias or prejudice, including but not limited to bias or prejudice based upon race, sex, gender, religion, national origin, ethnicity, disability, age, sexual orientation, marital status, socioeconomic status, or political affiliation, or (b) sexual harassment.

        The code governs the conduct of judges and candidates for judicial office* and is binding upon them. Whether disciplinary action is appropriate, and the degree of discipline to be imposed, requires a reasoned application of the text and consideration of such factors as the seriousness of the transgression, if there is a pattern of improper activity, and the effect of the improper activity on others or on the judicial system.”

        RULES OF THE COMMISSION ON JUDICIAL PERFORMANCE Rule 111.4. Legal Error “a judge who commits legal error which, in addition, clearly and convincingly reflects bad faith, bias, abuse of authority, disregard for fundamental rights, intentional disregard of the law, or any purpose other than the faithful discharge of judicial duty is subject to investigation and discipline.”

        Given that Judge Persky is a white, male, former athlete at Stanford University and this is not his first reported lenient sentence for college-athelete rapists — the six month sentence he handed down gives the strong appearance of bias favorable for college-athlete-rapists with complete disregard for the additional emotional trauma caused to the victim of the felony.

        Given the number of people from across the US, who have publicly voiced support of Professor Dauber’s efforts to protect college women from being re-victimized by biased judges after being a rape victim of a college athelete; the public outcry of Judge Persky’s lenient sentence gives the strong appearance of this judge’s role in the erosion of public trust in the judiciary.

        Given that a gaggle of recent Stanford law graduates chose to publicly do the exact thing of which they are publicly claiming they find to be in error, ie: attempting to sway public opinion to influence reprimand of a Stanford graduate judge; the self-contradicting-letter gives the appearance that there may be root-problems stemming from Stanford law degrees being misinterpreted as a self-image of privilege. This flawed mind set which caused the “do as I say, not as I do” published letter, may have contributed to the Stanford-educated judge’s self-perception that he is not subject to established laws governing sentencing of rapists.

        From my perspective, the bottom line is two fold:

        1.) Rape of women is a serious problem on college campuses and so is judicial bias which re-victimizes crime victims. A reasonable person would conclude that this judge has demonstrated an above-the-law mentality and bias favorable to rapists who are fellow-former-college-atheletes. To reinstill public confidence in the impartiality of the courts and to deter this from happening again, he needs to be punished for practicing judicial bias.

        2.) Many of these Stanford law school graduates will soon most likely become practicing lawyers in California. They should be eternally thankful to Professor Michelle Dauber. It takes a person of strong moral character with real courage to altruistically speak out of judicial bias and above-the-law mentality in the California judicial branch. Bias and questionable ethics in California’s courts are real problems of which these ingrate, wet-behind-the-ears, and inexperienced-law-students may soon find themselves as victims. http://www.courtreformllc.com/

  19. We seem yet to address the ” judicial culture ” of the Santa Clara County bench, from where Persky comes. If the state guideline is 2-14 years for a rape conviction, then how is it not seen as an abuse of judicial discretion to give only 1/4 of the state guideline time? The message almost appears to be white men get 100% justice and women get 25% justice. That is echoed in pay, support and other areas of law and society in Santa Clara County. The Santa Clara County bench , wh[ile led by a few women , remains over 70% white males. Meanwhile the county is one of the diverse in the nation, the bench should reflect that diversity , then maybe things will change for the better in Santa Clara County’s legal system

  20. To Whom It May Concern,

    If you can be counted among those here whose arguments, whether brief or extensive, are based on the false notion that a rape was committed in the Turner case, you should be made aware that your local community college offers courses that might help you overcome your difficulties with reading comprehension.

    It is the practice of civilized people to identify and define those acts they consider criminal, and react accordingly. To ignore such civilized efforts in order to bluster emotionally is the practice of the mob and the preference of fools.

  21. Help me FINFAN!

    I got into a crowded elevator today and there were 3 large women, 3 “husky idlers”, and a guy behind me. They pressed against me as the elevator door slowly closed tightly. All the way up 3 floors in that humid elevator I could feel them pressing their sweaty bodies against me, lightly against my thighs, my back, even lightly brushing my buttocks.

    When the elevator door finally opened, they brushed past me and one of the women, without my consent, brushed her hand along my upper thigh as she waddled past, oblivious to how she made me feel as I quivered at the thought that she might be about to brush her hand against my crotch area, without so much as a “How do you do” but I managed to lean slightly to the left, a “lean of shame”, and I avoided her traumatic contact.

    After these “perverted pressers” exited the elevator, I rode up another 2 floors. I was alone and afraid. I felt so ashamed that 3 strangers had pressed themselves against me and didn’t even bother to say excuse me. They didn’t care how violated I might have felt.

    FINFAN, my question is this: Was I assaulted? (There weren’t any Swedish exchange students nearby, so I’m not sure). Should I report it now or wait 2 days until I see if it makes the news? Later, as I walked to my car, I felt dirty and discovered that my shoes had tracked small particles of dirt and gravel onto the floorboard of my car. Was I violated? If so, can you point me in the direction of the nearest men’s crisis center?

    • Robillard,

      If you do report it, don’t expect the sympathetic and supportive help you deserve, as the culture of groping is alive and well thanks to heartless, blame-the-victim Trump supporters. Be prepared to have your character and judgment questioned — even to the point of being branded a human party favor just for squeezing into the elevator with those beasts.

      At the very least, you should take those two days and use them to treat yourself to a little TLC (meds and therapeutic binge eating) and putting to paper every aspect of your trauma, real or imagined. Seven thousand words should do (at least you won’t be hampered by a hangover).

  22. The jury found this young man guilty on three counts of felony sexual assault and no one appealed the verdict. The only legal question on the table is: Was the judge’s act of giving him such a light sentence caused by unethical judicial bias which rose to a level that it erodes the public’s confidence in the impartiality of the courts?

    It will be interesting to see how the Commission on Judicial Performance handles this one b/c unpunished judicial bias in the CA courts is a hot topic right now. People have been screaming about it since even b/f the Turner case. (See Court Reform LLC for March 2016 report “Why a Spotlight must be put on the Commission on Judicial Performance” http://www.courtreformllc.com/)

    Canons of Judicial Ethics: http://www.courts.ca.gov/documents/ca_code_judicial_ethics.pdf

    “Law, the legal system, or the administration of justice. When a judge engages in an activity that relates to the law, the legal system, or the administration of justice, the judge should also consider factors such as whether the activity upholds the integrity, impartiality, and independence of the judiciary (Canons 1 and 2A), whether the activity impairs public confidence in the judiciary (Canon 2), whether the judge is allowing the activity to take precedence over judicial duties (Canon 31 3A)…

    Canon 3 A JUDGE SHALL PERFORM THE DUTIES OF JUDICIAL OFFICE IMPARTIALLY, COMPETENTLY, AND DILIGENTLY

    3B. Adjudicative Responsibilities (5) A judge shall perform judicial duties without bias or prejudice. A judge shall not, in the performance of judicial duties, engage in speech, gestures, or other conduct that would reasonably be perceived as (a) bias or prejudice, including but not limited to bias or prejudice based upon race, sex, gender, religion, national origin, ethnicity, disability, age, sexual orientation, marital status, socioeconomic status, or political affiliation, or (b) sexual harassment.

    The code governs the conduct of judges and candidates for judicial office* and is binding upon them. Whether disciplinary action is appropriate, and the degree of discipline to be imposed, requires a reasoned application of the text and consideration of such factors as the seriousness of the transgression, if there is a pattern of improper activity, and the effect of the improper activity on others or on the judicial system.”

    RULES OF THE COMMISSION ON JUDICIAL PERFORMANCE Rule 111.4. Legal Error “a judge who commits legal error which, in addition, clearly and convincingly reflects bad faith, bias, abuse of authority, disregard for fundamental rights, intentional disregard of the law, or any purpose other than the faithful discharge of judicial duty is subject to investigation and discipline.”