What Justice? The Hypocrisy of Only Giving Second Chances to Those More Fortunate

Justice is a sad joke in a country where a privileged white boy will receive incredible leniency when convicted of sexual assault & the intent to commit rape, but so many black boys across America have their futures destroyed over petty theft and drug possession charges.

On January 18, 2015, around 1 a.m., two Stanford students caught Brock Turner in the middle of raping an unconscious young woman beside a dumpster.[1]  Both Brock Turner and the young woman had come from the same frat party.  At trial he was convicted. He was convicted of three felonies and prosecutors requested six years in state prison, less than half the possible sentence.  However, the judge lowered the sentence to six months in county jail,  three months if good behavior, and three years probation.

According to the judge he lowered the sentence because a longer sentence could severely harm the young man. This is part of the letter Brock Turner’s father submitted to the judge on his son’s behalf:

He will never be his happy-go-lucky self with that easy-going personality and welcoming smile.  His every waking minute is consumed with worry, anxiety, fear, and depression. You can see this in his face, the way he walks, is weakened voice, his lack of appetite. Brock always enjoyed certain types of food and is a very good cook himself. . . . Now he barely consumes any food and eats only to exist. These verdicts have broken and shattered him and our family in so many ways. 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.

(Emphasis added)

The last line is disgusting.

And what about her life? The reasoning behind the judge’s mercy, that a successful, privileged, and white athlete’s life should not be destroyed, is appalling when the crime of rape often murders the victim’s very soul. The survivor of Brock Turner's crime put her pain in her own words far better than can be summarized here. [2]  Why should her pain and the destruction of her life mean so little that he walks away with practically a slap on the wrist? Especially, when you consider that much of rape is perpetrated by those who commit the crime over and over again.  

Surely, a man who is found guilty by a jury for rape should face judgment.  Especially when the media and the courts have so little sympathy for black boys from bad neighborhoods who have done far less.  While Brock Turner will be required to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life, in many states so are bums that urinate in public or 18 year old boys who date 16 year old girls. While it might possibly be too large a punishment in those cases, it certainly is not for rape.

There is something revolting about only giving second chances to those who had the best chances in the world for success and still decide to destroy someone else’s life in one of the ugliest ways imaginable.  Where is the justice and protection for survivors of sexual assault? Where is this mercy granted to Brock Turner when black children are convicted of far lesser crimes? Where?

HWLJ 2016 - 2L Staff Editor  

[1] http://www.theatlantic.com/news/archive/2016/06/stanford-sexual-assault-letters/485837/

[2]  https://www.buzzfeed.com/katiejmbaker/heres-the-powerful-letter-the-stanford-victim-read-to-her-ra?utm_term=.itEby98yPG#.odW1OkAOLZ