California Lawmakers Pass Mandatory Jail Bill Inspired By Stanford Rape Case
California lawmakers, responding to outrage over the six-month jail term given to a former Stanford University swimmer after his conviction for sexually assaulting an unconscious woman, passed legislation on Monday closing a loophole that allowed the sentence.
The bill now goes to Democratic Governor Jerry Brown for his approval. He has not indicated whether he will sign it into law.
The measure was introduced in response to the sentence given to 20-year-oldBrock Turner by Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky in June, which was widely condemned as too lenient.
Prosecutors had asked that Turner be given six years in state prison. He is scheduled to be released on Friday from jail in Northern California.
“Sexually assaulting an unconscious or intoxicated victim is a terrible crime and our laws need to reflect that,” Democratic Assemblyman Bill Dodd, a co-author of the legislation, said in a written statement following its passage.
Turner was convicted of assault with intent to commit rape, penetration of an intoxicated person and penetration of an unconscious person in the January 2015 attack. Under California law, those charges are not considered rape because they did not involve penile penetration.
The uproar over the sentence, fueled in part by the victim’s harrowing letter in which she detailed the assault in graphic terms, comes amid growing outrage over sexual assault on U.S. college campuses.
“This bill is about more than sentencing, it’s about supporting victims and changing the culture on our college campuses to help prevent future crimes,” Dodd said.