Here’s this week’s “Pat Political Point Podcast.” The Stanford rape case shows how the law works differently for those who live in privileged society. Just click the file to hear the podcast. The rough transcript is provided below.
Many of you have probably already heard of Stanford rape case. It’s a case that shows in plain terms that if you’ve got money and privilege, justice treats you in a much kinder, gentler way than it does for those who don’t have the means to buy influence and privilege.
Freshman swimmer Brock Turner was arrested for sexual assault and attempted rape of an unconscious University of California , Santa Barbara graduate student during a frat party at Stanford. Turner was caught assaulting woman near a dumpster by the frat. Two witnesses, who happened to be riding their bikes that night, saw what Turner was doing, captured him, and called authorities.
Turner was later found guilty on three counts, including intent to rape, and use of “foreign objects.” Turner was convicted of those acts. I’m making that point clear. This isn’t a case where people are angry because a person they believed to be guilty was found not guilty. Turner was convicted.
Turner faced 14 years in prison for his crime. The defense argued their client to be sentenced to 3-5 years of probation, and to serve a four-month county jail term.
Judge Aaron Persky could’ve sent a loud and clear message that those convicted of sexual assault and rape are to serve the maximum penalty. The judge had the power to show he gives no leniency to rapists.
But Judge Persky had other worries on his mind other than victim.
Judge Persky levied the comical sentence of six months in a county jail, and three-years probation. No, Brock Turner didn’t have to serve time in a prison, but a county jail. And why is that? Judge Persky explained:
“A prison sentence would have a severe impact on him. I think he will not be a danger to others.”
The victim probably disagrees.
Again, Brock Turner was convicted on three counts, one of them intent to rape, and two others for using “foreign objects.” And the judge thought a prison sentence would be too harsh for the star swimmer.
Does that sound fair? Does everybody get that kind of leniency from a judge?
You know better.
This judge is a Stanford graduate, and a former Stanford lacrosse player. If I didn’t know better, I’d say Judge Persky witnessed something similar during his college days, and regarding this case he thought, “Well, boys will be boys.”
Persky announced his sentencing of Turner after listening to the victim’s 13-page letter of the incident, and how it will affect her for the rest of her life. She wrote:
“You took away my worth, my privacy, my energy, my time, my intimacy, my confidence, my own voice, until today. The damage is done; no one can undo it.”
However, Judge Persky apparently was moved by another letter written by Brock Turner’s father. The father wrote:
“His life will never be the one that he dreamed about and worked so hard to achieve. That is a steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action out of his 20-plus years of life.”
Persky agreed with Turner’s father that yes, Brock Turner shouldn’t be made to suffer the consequences of his crime. I mean, after all, it was only 20 minutes! How dare we get in the way of further impeding this rich kid’s dreams and aspirations!
The judge also gave credence to a letter by one of Turner’s friends, who decried our so-called political correct society
Now, had Brock Turner been poor, or a minority, I’m certain Judge Persky would’ve been just as understanding and compassionate to the convicted perpetrator.
Am I just using conjecture? Let’s compare Turner’s case with Brian Banks.
Banks was a star high school football player who was convicted of rape when he was 16. Banks, who is black, served a five year prison sentence a five years of probation before his accuser recanted her entire story. He was wrongly accused, but the judge in his case didn’t give Banks the watered-down sentence Brock Turner got. In fact, Banks originally was told he faced 41 years in prison had he fought the case.
The judge didn’t take Banks’ future into consideration when levying the six-year prison sentence. The judge didn’t worry about Banks’ safety or well-being in a prison. The judge didn’t take Banks’ upbringing into account.
Banks lost time and his once promising football career. He did eventually get to play some pro ball, and now works in the NFL. That doesn’t mask the disparity in our justice system: Privilege.
Here’s Banks on CNN expanding on how privilege plays a big role in our courts:
It’s this privilege that probably explains why a judge actually bought the “affluenza” defense for the kid who killed four people while drunk-driving. The judge thought Ethan Couch just didn’t know any better because of his rich upbringing. And that’s why he received a lenient sentence.
I know, many believe there’s no such thing as white privilege, or even more, class privilege. Those of us who believe in class privilege are we’re filled with “class envy.” “Get Over It!” they scream.
Tell Brock Turner’s victim to “get over it.”
Note: Kelly Ellis did a remarkable job contrasting how the media failed to show Brock Turner’s mug shot, but have no problem showing the mug shots of black men accused or convicted of the same crime.