Brock Turner, the former Stanford swimmer convicted of sexual assault this spring, is set to be released from jail today, while state lawmakers work to pass legislation that would mandate harsher penalties in similar cases.
Turner was convicted of three felony sexual assault charges back in March, the product of a January 2015 incident in which the then-freshman was discovered on top of an unconscious woman behind a dumpster on the Stanford campus.
The case didn’t really start making waves outside the swimming community until June, though, when Turner was sentenced to 6 months in jail. The sentence, criticized by many as too lenient, became a hotly-contested point of national discussion on social media for a few weeks. Prosecutors had reportedly asked the judge for a 6-year sentence, though the punishment could have been as high as 10 years under California state law.
Judge Aaron Persky pointed to Turner’s young age and lack of criminal history in giving him the six-month sentence, though the judge himself met a pretty severe backlash, particularly from social media, along with an online petition to have him removed from his seat.
Soon after Turner was sentenced and booked into jail on June 2, the Santa Clara County website listed his release date as September 2 – only three months after his booking, not 6. An official from the county sheriff’s office said it was typical for inmates to serve only half their sentences, with the full sentence being a consequence of fighting or misbehaving while in jail.
The county website still lists today as Turner’s release date, suggesting he is set to go free, though he will still be on probation. Turner will also have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life, was banned from the Stanford campus after his arrest and will not be allowed to regain his USA Swimming membership.
In addition, California lawmakers passed legislation over the summer requiring a prison sentence for anyone convicted of sex crimes in which the victim is unconscious. The bill passed 66-0, according to The Sacramento Bee, and was sent to the governor for his signature as of Monday.