Former Stanford University student Brock Turner was released from jail early Friday morning, after serving half of a six-month jail sentence on a sexual assault conviction.
Turner, whose sentence was widely criticized for its leniency, was released shortly after 6 a.m. and was met by a crowd of reporters. He exited the jail and got into a waiting white SUV that left immediately afterward. Turner offered no comment to reporters.
“If we had our way, Brock Turner would be in state prison serving a six year sentence, not going home,” the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s office said in a statement.
The statement emphasized the focus on a bill, AB 2888, that would require a state prison sentence for anyone convicted of sexually assaulting an unconscious person.
“With the Governor’s signature, the next Brock Turner will go to prison,” the statement said.
Early releases are commonly given because of good behavior and because of California’s prison realignment. Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky is facing a recall campaign over his handling of Turner’s case.
Turner was convicted in March of three felony counts: assault with the intent to commit rape of an unconscious person, sexual penetration of an unconscious person and sexual penetration of an intoxicated person. He attacked an unconscious woman behind a garbage bin on the Palo Alto university’s campus in January 2015.
At his sentencing, Turner faced up to 14 years in prison. Prosecutors sought a six-year prison term.
Persky ultimately opted for the lighter jail term of six months and also sentenced the Ohio native to three years of probation. At the time, he said a lengthier penalty would have a “severe impact” on Turner.
Criticism of the sentence escalated after the unidentified victim’s 12-page, single-spaced letter that she read in court went viral after it was published by the media.
She harshly criticized Persky for giving Turner “a soft time-out, a mockery of the [seriousness] of the assaults.”
Times staff writer Matt Hamilton contributed to this report.
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9:25 a.m.: This article was updated with a statement from the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s office.
This article was originally published at 6:55 a.m.