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Changes in Sex Crime Sentencing in California After Brock Turner

Apr 28, 2017 by Mike McKneely in Sex Crimes

In 2016, a sexual assault case at Stanford University garnered nationwide attention. Brock Turner, a 21-year-old student, was sentenced to six months in jail for sexually assaulting an unconscious 23-year-old woman. He was released after serving three months.

The victim in the case wrote a letter that generated a groundswell of national interest. The judge, in this case, was criticized by many who thought the sentence was too lenient. Local activists even began a campaign to recall the judge from office.

In response to the perceived leniency of the sentence, the California legislature is making changes. Governor Jerry Brown recently signed AB 2888, which prohibits probation in cases of sexual assault.

Now, even minor crimes can result in years in jail. No matter how minor the crime may seem, it’s important to have a Fresno sex crimes lawyer on your side from the beginning. You need someone to fight for your rights if you’re facing a sex crimes charge. Call Michael McKneely, Criminal Defense Lawyer today at (559) 443-7442.

New California Law Regarding Sexual Assault

AB 2888, which went into effect on January 1, 2017, was put in place to close a perceived “loophole” in California’s sexual assault laws. Where the crime of rape by intoxicating substance was once eligible for probation in the appropriate circumstances, now it is not.

Brock Turner’s sentence was based on the particular facts of his case. Most of the problems with the prosecution’s charges never gained national attention, but suffice it to say, it was not an open-and-shut case of guilt. Because of the difficulties with the case, and the recommendation of the probation department, the court granted Mr. Turner probation with 6 months in jail. Now, with AB 2888, no probation can be granted for this charge.

Impact on the Criminal Justice System

Many proponents of AB 2888 believe the mandatory minimum sentences will bring justice to those who have committed crimes. However, minimum sentences are a one-size-fits-all approach and they deny trained and experienced judges the ability to treat different offenders differently. They make it seem like the legislature is being tough on crime, but they lead to overcrowded prisons and unjust sentences.

Even Governor Brown did not feel completely at ease when signing the bill. He stated that he was opposed to mandatory sentences. Nevertheless, he felt the bill was necessary for the victims of the crimes.

While many people want the “bad guys” to be punished to the harshest extent possible, are long prison terms the answer? Many people convicted of certain sex crimes are not a future danger to society, especially after receiving treatment. Studies show that in this population prison can actually do more harm than good.

Getting Legal Help

If you’re accused of a sex crime in California, expect hefty penalties. The state is strict on those convicted of rape, sexual assault, and similar crimes. You could be living with the consequences for the rest of your life.

If you’re facing sex crime charges, contact Michael McKneely, Criminal Defense Lawyer. Fresno sex crime attorney Michael McKneely is up for the challenge. We have experience navigating the criminal justice system, and have gone to trial in many cases.

Don’t fight your case alone. With Michael McKneely on your side, you’ll get aggressive representation. We can help reduce your charges and penalties. For legal assistance, contact our office at (559) 443-7442.

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