In the past two months, the United States has watched some of its industries’ most powerful men disgraced by sexual harassment and assault allegations. Now, Brock Turner, the convicted rapist who served three months of his six-month sentence for raping a woman in January 2015, has filed to appeal his convictions.
According to NBC News, Turner’s attorneys filed a 172-page appeal with California’s Sixth District of Appeals on Friday, arguing that their client’s trial was “fundamentally unfair.” The former Stanford swimmer’s lawyers argued that the media attention surrounding him, in addition to other factors, barred Turner from his right to a fair trial.
“The petitioner respectfully requests that this Court reverse his convictions,” the lawyers wrote.
Turner faced a maximum of 14 years in prison for his charges, among them sexual penetration of an unconscious woman; sexual penetration of an intoxicated woman; and assault with intent to commit rape. But he was sentenced to six months in June 2016. Three months later, he was released and is now on probation for three years following his release. Turner is also registered as a sex offender in the state of Ohio.
At the time, Turner’s sentencing, issued by Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky, was met with backlash by sexual assault activists and allies of survivors who felt that the punishment was too lenient. Californians filed thousands of complaints and petitions against Persky, but an agency for judicial discipline said that the judge did nothing wrong. On Friday, an appeals court also denied Persky’s request to stop a petition of a recall vote for him in June.
After his sentencing, the woman who Turner raped penned a powerful open letter to her attacker, published by BuzzFeed. The woman took issue with Turner’s pledge that he would “raise awareness of sexual assault and drinking culture on college campuses” as penance for his actions, writing that Turner took away, “my worth, my privacy, my energy, my time, my safety, my intimacy, my confidence, my own voice, until today.”
“…To girls everywhere, I am with you. On nights when you feel alone, I am with you. When people doubt you or dismiss you, I am with you,” the woman wrote in her letter. “I fought everyday for you. So never stop fighting, I believe you.”