Amid a fierce national uproar over a once-promising and now former Stanford University swimmer’s light sentence for a brutal sexual assault — and then news that he would only have to serve three months of the six-month sentence — new court documents released late last week are providing more insight into the events leading up to the attack and circumstances surrounding the trial. According to a police report that was among those documents, the victim’s sister said “one of the guys” at the fraternity party on the night of the crime “was very aggressive and trying to kiss everyone.” The sister later identified Turner as that man, and said she’d rejected multiple attempts by Turner to kiss her.
Another detail revealed in court documents is that of the sentencing guidelines, and how Turner’s and the victim’s level of intoxication influenced that decision-making process — the outcome of which has been one of the case’s most controversial aspects. According to authorities both Turner and the victim were extremely intoxicated during the crime. “This case, when compared to other crimes of similar nature, may be considered less serious due to the defendant’s level of intoxication,” advised Monica Lassettre, a probation officer who wrote sentencing recommendations. She recommended a four- to six-month sentence based on the fact that Turner was so heavily intoxicated combined with the fact that he had no prior criminal record, and showed “sincere remorse and empathy for the victim.” Turner had been facing as much as 14 years behind bars.
Alaleh Kianerci, the deputy district attorney who prosecuted the case, noticed the respective intoxication levels as well, but had a completely different take on what the sentence should have been. Kianerci argued that Turner’s victimization of a woman who was so incapacitated by alcohol was an aggravating factor in the case, and grounds for a harsher sentence.
Read the full story at The New York Times.