Everyone has their two cents they want to put in about the sexual assault case against and sentencing for Stanford swimmer Brock Turner (though not seemingly as many people as wanted to put their two cents in about the gorilla Harambe…). I wasn’t going to join the herd, but a recent story has given me a new thought on the matter.
To set things in order, let’s establish that the judge’s name is Aaron Persky. We’ve all heard Turner’s name, but Persky’s name should be out there too, because he bears a lot of the responsibility for this miscarriage of justice. Let’s also establish – in case you don’t know the details – that Perksy sentenced Turner to six months in county jail (not prison) after the 20-year-old star swimmer was convicted on three felony counts: assault with intent to rape an intoxicated person, sexually penetrating an intoxicated person with a foreign object and sexually penetrating an unconscious person with a foreign object. The prosecutors in the case had asked for no less than six years in prison, with a maximum of 14 years. For reference, California penal code states that ONE felony sexual battery/crime is punishable by up to one year in county jail or two to four years in a state penitentiary, in addition to several thousands of dollars in fines.
For three felony sexual crimes, Turner, the embodiment of Aryan and Darwinian achievement, gets sixth months in jail. Oh, but he’s actually only probably going to serve three months.
Persky has stated that a harsher sentence would have a “severe impact” on Turner. I’m not wearing a robe here, but I thought the point of punishment was to have a severe impact on the offender.
Turner’s dad tried to make us feel sorry for him in a letter he wrote before the sentencing. His poor athlete son doesn’t have an appetite these days for steak and potato chips, and he’s a good guy because when he was in elementary school, he studied really hard for his spelling tests. I mean, because how can you villainize a guy who successfully spelled “mountain” in second grade?
If you’re feeling sympathetic for little Brocky, you can Like the Facebook page “Brock Turner For 2016 Olympics,” though USA Swimming banned him for life.
The bright spot in all of this is that Turner will have to register as a sexual offender for the rest of his life, though he still blames this mess on binge drinking rather than, you know, his own will and fingers.
But I’m getting ranty. Let me move on to the point.
Time magazine released a story this week that at least 10 people who were summoned to jury duty for one of Persky’s new cases have told him they simply can’t serve under him because they can’t believe what he did. Persky responded to each of them that he understood, and then he excused them from their duty.
One way to look at this new development is that we as a society should try to move on and prevent future wrongs, rather than make the judicial process suffer for the next person. The potential jurors are, after all, prolonging the jury selection process, which could impede this next defendant’s right to a fair and speedy trial.
But the process has already suffered.
If the process didn’t work for Turner’s nameless 23-year-old female victim, it won’t work for Persky’s next defendant.
If the process doesn’t work for one, it doesn’t work for anyone.
I was a little misleading in saying earlier that I had a new thought on this case, because it’s not new. The system has failed countless people before, and will continue to do so. Human beings are imperfect, and anything we touch will at some point be messed up. That’s a reality we have to accept, but it’s not a reality in which we have to helplessly wallow. Human beings are also capable of good and correcting wrongs.
Judge Persky, I doubt you’ll ever see this little blog post buried way off in the millions of others on the Internet, but if you do, I hope you will see that you can make reparations for the wrong you have done. Your job is to dispense justice, and you failed Brock Turner’s victim. By failing her, you failed us all. Your mission from this day forward should be to do everything in your power to never let that happen ever again on your watch. There is a woman out there not even a quarter of a century old who can’t sleep without a night light and has lost her desire to engage in intimacy. Brock Turner may not have succeeded in raping her, but he raped her mind, he raped her security, he raped her sanity, he raped her functionality and he raped her joy.
And you let him get away with that. Twelve strangers unanimously decided that Turner deserved punishment. They handed that to you on a silver platter, and you let it clatter to the floor.
Yes, Brock is only 20 years old. Yes, he has his whole life ahead of him. But our choices at any point in our life define us. None of us gets a do-over at this thing. We’ve all made mistakes, but most of us have managed to not ram our fingers, unwanted, up another person’s – an unconscious person’s – genitals.
I hope Brock doesn’t hurt someone else the way he hurt his victim in this case, but if he does, I hope that judge exercises more respect for the system he or she has vowed to uphold and protect than you did.
Thank goodness there are people out there who believe we are still one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.