California Lawmakers Pass Legislation Inspired by Brock Turner Case Closing Sex Assault Sentencing Loopholes

Turner will get out of jail after three months

Photo: Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office

On Monday, lawmakers in California passed legislation banning probation under certain conditions for people convicted of sexual assault.

The state assembly bill, which was unanimously passed with a 66-0 vote and is now awaiting Gov. Jerry Brown’s signature, was inspired by the rape case involving former Stanford student-athlete Brock Turner, who some believe was given a lenient sentence after he sexually assaulted a 23-year-old unconscious woman behind a dumpster at a on-campus fraternity party in January 2015.

Turner was sentenced to six months, but according to Santa Clara County jail records, the 21-year-old is set to be released on Friday, Sept. 2, with his sentence cut in half due to good behavior, SG Gate reports.

“Sexually assaulting an unconscious or intoxicated victim is a terrible crime and our laws need to reflect that,” Assemblyman Bill Dodd said in a statement obtained by PEOPLE. “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.”

“Rape is Rape, and rapists like Brock Turner shouldn’t be let off with a slap on the wrist,” Assemblyman Evan Low said in a statement. “Judge Persky’s ruling was unjustifiable and morally wrong, however, under current state law it was within his discretion. Current law actually incentivizes rapists to get their victims intoxicated before assaulting them. While we can’t go back and change what happened, we can make sure it never happens again.”

Turner was convicted of three felonies including assault with intent to commit rape in March of 2015. Prosecutors had asked presiding Judge Aaron Persky to sentence Turner to a six-year prison term. Instead, Persky sentenced Turner to six months in jail and three years probation, arguing that a longer sentence would have a “severe impact” on the then 20-year-old Turner.

Turner’s victim, who has chosen to remain anonymous, gained national attention when her 12-page victim impact statement went viral.

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Meanwhile, last week, Persky, who has faced severe backlash over the sentence, including a petition calling for his resignation, asked to be reassigned to the court’s civil division.

“While I firmly believe in Judge Persky’s ability to serve in his current assignment, he has requested to be assigned to the civil division, in which he previously served,” Rise Jones Pichon, the presiding judge of the Santa Clara Superior Court said in a statement obtained by PEOPLE. “Judge Perky believes the change will aid the public and the court by reducing the distractions that threaten to interfere with his ability to effectively discharge the duties of his current criminal assignment.”

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