A Transcript Of Brock Turner’s Sentencing Hearing Reveals Why He Got Such A Light Sentence

The former Stanford swimmer convicted of raping an unconscious woman behind a dumpster on campus was sentenced to only six months in jail, with the likelihood that he’ll get out after three months. At the June 2 sentencing hearing, Brock Turner’s lawyer argued that “in his drunken state, he remembered consent,” though the defendant admitted to digitally penetrating the woman. A newly-released transcript of Turner’s sentencing hearing reveals why Judge Aaron Persky was so lenient with his sentence — he believed the convicted rapist’s story, because convicted criminals are always the most truthful humans.

In Persky’s exact words: “I mean, I take him at his word that, subjectively, that’s his version of events. The jury, obviously, found it not to be the sequence of events.” Basically, the judge thought Turner was telling the truth despite the fact that 12 jurors already found him guilty of felony sexual assault. Um, that’s not how this works. The jury decides whether or not the person is guilty and the judge sentences them based on that decision — a judge can’t give a lighter sentence just because they disagree with the jury’s ruling. I mean, obviously they can (because Persky did), but they shouldn’t.

Prosecutor Alaleh Kianerci argued that Turner only believes the victim was conscious and consenting because “that’s the story that he tells himself and his family and that gets him through his day.” Apparently, the survivor’s emotional letter detailing how terrible the rape and its aftermath were for her wasn’t enough to convince Turner or Judge Persky that it was actually rape.

The transcript also reveals that Persky thought the fact that Turner was sober when he sexually assaulted the woman reduced the “moral culpability” of the crime, though the judge said he didn’t rely on that when determining the sentence. Persky said:

“Some weight should be given to the fact that a defendant who is, albeit voluntarily, intoxicated versus a defendant who commits an assault with intent to commit rape, a completely sober defendant, there is less moral culpability attached to the defendant who is legally intoxicated. That’s a comparative measure. But I don’t attach very much weight to that.”

Alcohol or no alcohol, Turner violently assaulted another person. Even if the judge says he didn’t attach much weight to Turner’s drunkenness and focused on the defendant’s youth and lack of prior criminal offenses, the booze clearly impacted his views that Turner was less guilty than other real rapists.

Repeat after me: rape is rape is rape.

Judge Persky also took into consideration the multiple letters sent in by Turner’s family and friends explaining what a good guy he is and how they would never expect anything like this from him, one of which said: “I don’t think it’s fair to base the fate of the next 10+ years of his life on the decision of a girl who doesn’t remember anything but the amount she drank to press charges against him.” The transcript notes Persky saying about the letters, “It sort of corroborates the evidence of his character up until the night of this incident, which has been positive.”

The same judge was taken off another sexual assault case this week after the Santa Clara district attorney drew parallels between the new case and the Turner trial Judge Persky presided over. Persky remains on the bench, despite widespread petitions for him to be removed, and this transcript only strengthens the case for him to be fired.