When Justice is Not Done — Pt. 2

Yesterday, I wrote the first part of this series, fully expecting it to be a single post. After all, there were a number of others writing about the farce of a sentence handed down by Judge Aaron Persky in the Stanford rape case. For once, the outrage over a lenient sentence seemed to be held by almost all who had taken time to look into the facts of the case. Brock Turner had been convicted of rape and had received the unbelievable sentence of only six months in county jail followed by three years probation. That was bad enough. What really sparked public outrage was the judge’s comment that one of the factors he considered when determining punishment had been the “adverse collateral effects stemming from high media coverage”. Add in the comment by Tucker’s father that characterized what happened as “twenty minutes of action” and, well, the public was up in arms.

As I said, I hadn’t expected to return to the case today but with the new morning comes more information, information that seems to put the lie to the assertion that the party atmosphere at Stanford contributed to what happened. To put it bluntly, what Tucker and his father in his letter to the court alleged was that Tucker was a good kid who had never been in trouble before. That he had been extremely unhappy at Stanford and had felt pressured by upper classmen to drink and have sex.

The evil of booze made him do it.

Except, judging from what is being talked about this morning, that’s not quite the truth.

According to Tucker, he was in “inexperienced drinker”. However, that’s not exactly the truth, at least not according to information given to the court for its consideration at the penalty phase of the trial. “A]ccording to prosecutor Alaleh Kiancerci’s sentencing memo, texts and photos found on Turner’s cell phone, which police seized, indicate that he used alcohol and drugs in high school, well before the January 2015 assault.” Yet this information apparently had little, if any, impact on the judge when he handed down his decision.

But it gets better. Video on the phone shows Tucker taking hits from a bong and following that with drinking straight from a liquor bottle. This video was taken more than a month before the rape. A couple of weeks before that, he texted the following to a friend:  ‘Do you think I could buy some wax so we could do some dabs?’

For those of you who don’t know, dabs “are a highly concentrated potent form of marijuana that is a THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) concentrated mass.”

There are other text messages concerning pot, wanting to have a “good acid trip” and more. Not exactly the sort of thing someone who is inexperienced with liquor or drugs would be interested in. At least not if that someone is the so-called good boy Tucker claimed to be.

According to the New York Daily News, the information contained on his cell phone proves that when Tucker claimed he didn’t party much before the rape was far from the truth. In fact, “a simple glance through Turner’s cell phone — filled with evidence of his drug use and underage drinking — revealed him as a regular substance abuser, and a liar, according to a sentencing memo.” Yet none of that appears to have had any impact on the judge and you have to ask yourself why. Why, when presented with this sort of evidence and then when presented with a statement from the defendant that said he “never really experienced celebrating or partying that involved alcohol,” before going to Stanford that went against the evidence presented, did the judge give such a lenient sentence?

The only explanation I can come to, short of accusing the judge of placing loyalty to his alma mater above the law, is that the judge felt Tucker’s intoxication took away some form of intent. Sorry, but if we are going to walk down that road, we might as well do away with every offense where the use of alcohol is the basis. Let’s do away with DWI offenses. After all, if someone can’t for the requisite intent to rape because they were intoxicated, how can we hold someone responsible for getting behind the wheel of a car while drunk?

Tucker was too drunk to realize his victim hadn’t given consent — hell, that she wasn’t even conscious — let him get away with a slap on the hand. But poor John Doe who got behind the wheel after partying and hit a family, injuring several of them? He gets to go to prison for years. He didn’t intend to drink and drive. He was intoxicated but that doesn’t matter. He did the crime now he has to do the time. So why not Tucker?

My good friend, Nicki Kenyon, wrote a great piece yesterday dealing with the letter Tucker’s father wrote to the court. Nicki has a way with words (VBEG) that I love. This morning, she tagged me to let me know there had been some interesting comments in response to her post. I’ll admit one of them almost sent me over the edge.

Before I get to that comment, let me say this. I am the mother of a son. I raised him to never rely on the girl to take precautions. Mistakes happen and, yes, there are some young women — and some not so young women — who will do just about anything to trap a guy. Then there are those who will consent at the time of the act only to withdraw it when having to explain to their parents what happened and why they are now pregnant.

But that’s not how most young women act and it certainly wasn’t the situation in the Tucker case. So, when I read something like “Six months for failing to video-document consent, not for rape or somnabulatory humping,” I tend to get a bit irate.  When that person goes on to say, “Many (but not all) women regularly (but not always) give consent for the man to do whatever he wants with her body, including consent for men to continue humping after she passes out,” irate no longer covers what I feel.

First of all, that sort of comment is exactly why so many women are hesitant to come forward when they have been sexually assaulted. This attitude smacks of not believing a woman has been violated unless she has been beaten, possibly to within an inch of her life. To all those who believe a woman — or man or child — can’t be sexually assaulted without fists or a weapon being used, go to hell. Go straight to hell and stay there.

“The girl in this case consented to him continuing after she passed out, and only retracted that consent after being publically embarrassed. Nobody disputes that she gave consent beforehand.” 

Say what? Where in the hell did he get this from? Who said she consented to anything? The defendant? Let’s see, if I remember correctly, he said she agreed to him kissing her. He thought she was enjoying herself because, at one point, she rubbed his back. Give me a fucking break.

There’s more. He tries to make an analogy that every surgeon is guilty of rape because they put things inside a person when said person is unconscious and they haven’t given renewed consent at that point. I think my head exploded on that one.

Look, I am the first to admit that the cries of “rape culture” have put our young men behind the eight ball. There are colleges that require consent forms — yes, you read that right — before sex can be had. But none of that applies in this case. At least not when you get down to the real facts of the case.

Did the victim make a mistake and show poor judgment by drinking as much as she did? Hell yes. But that doesn’t take away from what Tucker did. When the two graduate students came upon them, they didn’t interrupt consensual sex. They interrupted a young man having sex with someone who was unconscious. A young man who then tried to run away from them instead of sticking around and answering questions. That sort of gives the impression that he might have been guilty of something, doesn’t it?

A jury heard the evidence and found, beyond a reasonable doubt, that he was guilty of three felony offenses. The judge was presented evidence from both sides and apparently chose to ignore evidence of past prior bad acts, acts that directly conflicted with what the defendant and his father said. That, to me, is what needs to be explained. So too does the question of why this young man was given a sentence that is less than many misdemeanor sentences.

Justice was not served and that becomes more and more clear with each day that passes. All I can do is hope the people of Palo Alto and the surrounding area start asking the hard questions and demanding answers and, if those answers aren’t satisfactory, take action to make sure the judge no longer is in a position where such a miscarriage of justice can occur again.

5 Comments

  1. I jumped over the Liberty Zone and read.

    *That* comment left me speechless. Enraged would be a bit of an understatement. I was to the point I was hearing buzzing in my head. What little I said was all I could get out. My best guess, after the fact, is that “DD” has been accused of being a predator himself so “he” empathizes with the low-life son and dad. ((Hmm, I am now wondering if that is one the alias’ of a certain well know troll [who’s name I will not use]? That’s right up his alley.))

    Nicki did a very nice job addressing that things comments. 😉

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.