The six-month jail sentence for Brock Turner, the former Stanford student who was convicted of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman after a fraternity party in 2015, ignited a national debate about how U.S. courts handle such cases.
The sentence, which also requires him to register as a sex offender, outraged many who said it was far too lenient for such a serious crime. Prosecutors had asked for six years in state prison last week. In the days afterward, hundreds of thousands of people signed online petitions calling for the judge in the case to be removed, a recall effort was initiated, and Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky got death threats.
But Turner is not likely to serve even those six months behind bars. He is scheduled to be released from jail on Sept. 2, three months after he was admitted, according to the Santa Clara County Department of Corrections.
“That date was given to us by the court system,” said Sgt. James Jensen of the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s office.
Inmates typically serve half their jail sentences unless there are disciplinary problems, Jensen said. If inmates fight or fail to obey officers’ orders or cause other problems, they can be given additional days in jail up to the length of their original sentence.
Lawyers who have worked with Persky for years praised him as an intelligent and scrupulously fair judge, someone who as a prosecutor was aggressive in extending sentences for convicted sex offenders to keep them behind bars, and said he was guided by the probation report in the case. But for many who read the victim’s 12-page letter vividly describing the assault and how it has changed her life, the sentence was painfully inadequate for the crime — three felony sexual assault convictions.
In a letter to Buzzfeed Thursday, Vice President Joe Biden wrote, “… while the justice system has spoken in your particular case, the nation is not satisfied.”