San Jose, CA – A California appeals court heard arguments from the attorney of Brock Turner, the Stanford student who was given a ridiculously lenient sentence after he was convicted of sexually assaulting a woman outside a fraternity house in 2015.
On Tuesday, Attorney Eric Malthaup told a three-member panel of judges on California’s Sixth District Court of Appeal in San Jose that Turner’s attempted rape conviction should be overturned because he was practicing "sexual outercourse," FOX News reported.
Malthaup pointed to witness testimony that described Turner as "violently thrusting but fully clothed" when his assault on a half-naked, intoxicated victim was interrupted by two Swedish graduate students.
He said his client had been practicing "safe sex," and maintained that Turner had never planned to rape his victim, FOX News reported.
Turner told police that he had removed his victim’s underwear and penetrated her with his fingers but that he never took his own pants off and actually raped her, The New York Times reported.
One member of the appellate panel wasn’t entertaining Malthaup’s nonsense in the slightest.
“I absolutely don’t understand what you are talking about,” Associate Justice Franklin D. Elia said, according to The San Jose Mercury News.
Elia reminded Malthaup that the law “requires the jury verdict to be honored.”
“We are not in a position to say (of the jury), you should have gone a different way,” the judge said.
Malthaup argued to the panel that during the outercourse, both parties were dressed and there was no "penile contact,” Palo Alto Online reported.
But Elia disagreed with Turner’s attorney’s argument.
He told Malthaup that the Supreme Court had ruled that a defendant's exposure of him or herself was not required to provide intent to commit rape, according to Palo Alto online.
Turner’s trial received international attention after the promising student athlete was only sentenced to six months, and served only three, after he was convicted of attempted rape. He could have been sentenced to as many as 14 years in prison on the charges, according to The New York Times.
He was also barred from Stanford’s campus and required to register as a sex offender when he was released, something his parents strenuously objected to.
“Brock will have to register at the highest tier, which means he is on the same level as a pedophile/child molester,” Carleen Turner wrote to the court in support of her son’s appeal, FOX News reported.
His father also believes Turner has been inordinately punished.
“The fact that he now has to register as a sexual offender for the rest of his life forever alters where he can live, visit, work, and how he will be able to interact with people and organizations,” Dan Turner said, taking umbrage at the fact his son will have to wear the label of the crime for which he was convicted.
The appellate panel has 90 days to issue their ruling, FOX News reported.
The New York Times reported that Malthaup’s invocation of “outercourse” as a defense was widely mocked by the legal community and victim advocates.
National Sexual Violence Resource Center Spokeswoman Kristen Houser called Malthaup’s argument “a desperate whitewashing attempt.”
“This just really seems like a brazen attempt to sanitize a sexual assault by splitting hairs in individual legal definitions,” Houser told The New York Times.
The Stanford law professor who led the recall vote against the judge who sentenced Turner said his appeal proved he was not remorseful and had not taken responsibility.
“In the grand scheme, he got off very lightly and was very lucky in the way he was sentenced,” Professor Michele Dauber told The New York Times. “Everyone would be better off if he were to accept the consequences and move on.”