Brock Turner, who spent just three months in county jail after sexually assaulting an unconscious woman in 2015, is appealing his conviction and requesting a new trial on the basis of “prosecutorial misconduct.”
According to the San Jose Mercury News, Turner filed a 172-page brief arguing that the deputy district attorney tainted the jury when he repeatedly claimed that Turner committed the assault behind a dumpster, though in reality Turner’s victim was found in an open space behind a three-sided trash enclosure and a basketball court—apparently an important distinction. The brief states that the graduate students who ultimately chased Turner off approached from the basketball court, meaning the act was not obscured:
“The prejudicial aspects of this ‘behind-the-dumpster’ characterization were twofold: (1) it implied an intent on the appellant’s part to shield and sequester his activities with Ms. Doe from the view of others; and (2) it implied moral depravity, callousness, and culpability on the appellant’s part because of the inherent connotations of filth, garbage, detritus and criminal activity frequently generally associated with dumpsters,” the brief states. “The cumulative effect of this misleading course of conduct deprived appellant of a fair trial.”
The brief also argues that Turner was denied due process and a fair trial thanks to the prosecution’s “failure to present constitutionally sufficient evidence as to any of the three counts of conviction” and by Persky’s “failure to adequately respond to a critical jury question during deliberations.”
Turner was found guilty in March 2016 on three felony counts after he assaulted a woman during a Kappa Alpha frat party on January 18, 2015. Witnesses reported that they saw him lying on the woman, who was unconscious and partially undressed.
The appeal comes more than a year after Turner was released from jail, where he famously spent only three months, plus three years’ probation and the requirement that he register as a sex offender. Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky was widely criticized for the lenient sentence afforded the former Stanford swimmer, though he was cleared of misconduct following an investigation last year.