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Monday Morning Michelle: What do you think about Brock Turner’s sentence?

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Dear Michelle,

Could not but help but see all the chatter on Twitter and especially your Timeline with regard to what in my opinion is a lenient sentence for the Stanford student, Brock Turner, who got sentenced to just six-months for sexual assault.  What do you think is the real reason behind the judge’s lenient sentence? – Curious George

Hi George,

It’s very difficult to understand all that went into the handing down of a six-month sentence for a crime that in the eyes of many is unimaginable and unforgiveable.  However, it’s very important to understand that sometimes we are simply not privy to all that goes on behind the scenes, especially when it comes to matters that take place within the processing of the criminal justice system.

At present, I’m immersed in an article written by Marcos Barbery, published online June 12, 2016, and 8 a.m. which discusses the advantage of being white, well-off and educated, and I can’t stand that this judge did not think about the ramifications of such a lenient sentence, when he was handing it down.

Here we go again, with the race card, and it’s just going to make things so much worse, because people will likely fail to remember that thirty year sentence handed down to Brandon Vandenberg, one of the two men who were arrested and tried for several counts of sexual assault against a young woman while they attended Vanderbilt University.

You ask me what I think of the lenient sentence?  I think it was exactly that.

I think it was lenient and given the circumstances involved, and the way sexual assault seems to be such a tough difficult topic, it’s not going to cause me any popularity votes if I say that I think young men make very big mistakes when they are young and drink too much.   However, that’s exactly what I think.  That being said, that’s not that I think it’s OKAY.

It’s not.  However, throwing the book at someone, regardless of their race, financial standing within the community is not the answer.  Or is it?

Suffice it to say justice is very often in the eye of the beholder.

If you’re the parent of the young man who made a grave mistake, you might be praying that he receive a lenient sentence.  If you are the victim or her family, you might want to see him serve life behind bars.  I tend to rest somewhere in the middle on this because I have seen many people throughout my life, including myself, who have made choices when they were in their early twenties that were not done so with prudence, and quite possibly were affected by usage of alcohol.

Based on what I’ve read, and all I know, I’m not sure why the judge did not want to make an example out of Turner, and send a message to everyone that, ‘It’s NOT Okay!” Only, it seems that maybe he might have done so by imposing the lenient sentence, and who knows if this will spark some sort of political campaign and outrage which will result from the petition that’s already been initiated to get the judge off the bench.

What I’m curious about, George, is why not graduated sentence, that would have required that there be a certain level of empathy training, etc., and on that note, would it have been better to release him entirely, and do some sort of ‘Pre-trial Intervention’ like Ray Rice got, so that Turner did not have to file as a sex offender?

It’s all so complicated, and just unraveling, and like you I’m curious, too.

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Robert D. Cobb
Founder, Publisher and CEO of INSCMagazine. Works have appeared and featured in places such as Forbes, Huffington Post, ESPN and NBC Sports to name a few. Follow me on Twitter at @RobCobb_INSC, email me at robert.cobb@theinscribermag.com