Judge Aaron Persky, who sentenced rapist Brock Turner to six months in jail and three years of probation, is once again the center of controversy after sentencing a Latino man to three years in prison for the same crime.
Raul Ramirez, 32, was found guilty of raping a female housemate. In contrast to Brock Turner, who ran away after being caught assaulting a passed-out woman behind a dumpster, Ramirez fully cooperated with officers and has since apologized to his victim. His sentence of three years is standard for sexual assault, which makes the Turner case more of an anomaly.
Brock Turner did not admit responsibility for his actions before or during his trial. Despite this, Judge Persky said a longer prison sentence would have a “negative impact” on his life, and six months in the county jail was enough. Turner’s conviction stemmed from his actions after a frat party, during which both he and his victim excessively drank alcohol. The unnamed victim read aloud a 12-page impact statement in court that has since gone viral after being released by her legal team. Turner could have received up to 14 years in prison for the crime.
The sentencing difference between Ramirez and Turner underscores research findings that minorities often receive harsher sentences than whites for the same crimes. This may be due to white defendants having better access to skilled legal representation.
In the time since the Turner trial, there have been several large public protests against Judge Persky, and a number of prospective jurors have left his courtroom because of the way the case was handled.