After becoming one of the biggest newsmakers of 2016, convicted sex offender Brock Turner has filed a 172-page brief in hopes of appealling his conviction and being granted a new trial. The filing comes as a surprise to many outspoken critics of the 22-year-old, as it was seemingly universally accepted that he received the minimum punishment when he was ordered to spend only six months behind bars.
In the filing, his lawyer argued that the former collegiate swimmer did not get a fair trial because testimonies by character witnesses — who spoke of his athletics and his “honesty” — were excluded from the trial. Additionally, the filing argues that the media attention that surrounded the trial kept Brock from benefitting from a totally fair trial.
After being indicted on five charges relating to a 2015 incident in which Turner sexually penetrated his victim — known only as Emily Doe — who was intoxicated and unconscious at the time, he was found guilty on three charges: sexual penetration of an unconscious woman, sexual penetration of an intoxicated woman, and assault with the intent to commit rape. He was later sentenced to six months behind bars (he only served half, due to good behavior), followed by three years of probation. Additionally, he was required to register as a sex offender for the remainder of his life — which is what he is hoping to overturn in his new trial. In addition to the media circus caused by the trial, he also argued that the prosecutors unfaily or incorrectly said that the assault happened behind a dumpster, which — his lawyer argued — unfairly implied the former Stanford student was attempted to hide something he was doing.
Brock Turner leaving county jail after three months. (Photo Credit: Splash)
Despite his attempt to get a new trial, District Attorney Jeff Rosen — whose office prosecuted Turner — has stood by Turner’s conviction, insisting he was given a fair trial. He said in a statement to the Mercury News, “His conviction will be upheld. Nothing can ever roll back Emily Doe’s legacy of raising the world’s awareness about sexual assault.”
After the trial, Emily Doe’s statement — which she read directly to her attacker in court — went viral for the pointed way in which she addressed sexual assault and her victimhood. “I want to show people that one night of drinking can ruin two lives. You and me. You are the cause, I am the effect,” she said in court. “You have dragged me through this hell with you, dipped me back into the that night again and again. You knocked down both our towers, I collapsed at the same time you did. If you think I was spared, came out unscathed, that today I ride off into the sunset, while you suffer the greatest blow, you are mistaken. Nobody wins. We have all been devastated, we have all been trying to find some meaning in all of this suffering. Your damage was concrete; stripped of titles, degrees, enrollment. My damage was internal, unseen, I carry it with me. You took away my worth, my privacy, my time, my safeuly, my intimacy, my confidence, my own voice, until today.”