California mandatory prison bill passes after Stanford sexual assault
August 31, 2016
The California State Assembly voted 66-0 in favor of a bill that would mandate prison sentences for anyone convicted of sexually assaulting an unconscious person. The bill now heads to Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk. [NPR]
In June, former Stanford student and swimmer, Brock Turner, received a six-month jail sentence and three years of probation after being convicted of three felony counts of sexually assaulting an intoxicated and unconscious woman. Turner sexually penetrated the woman with his fingers at a fraternity party.
Protests erupted following Turner’s sentencing, which critics said was too lenient. The sentence also led to a campaign to recall the judge. More than 1 million people have reportedly signed a petition calling for the judge’s removal from the bench.
After serving half of his six-month sentence, Turner is due to be released from jail on Friday, based on good behavior.
California law currently mandates a prison sentence when physical force is used in the course of a rape. Under the new law, the perpetrator would not have to use force against the intoxicated or unconscious person in order to receive prison time.
Assemblyman Bill Dodd (D-Napa), who is one of the authors of the bill, said state laws need to change to reflect the terrible nature of the crime.
“Sexually assaulting an unconscious or intoxicated victim is a terrible crime and our laws need to reflect that,” Dodd said. “Letting felons convicted of such crimes get off with probation discourages other survivors from coming forward and sends the message that raping incapacitated victims is no big deal.”