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Probation official called Brock Turner crime "less serious"

NEW YORK - Judge Aaron Persky wasn't the only California official who thought Brock Turner should be spared time in prison.

According to the probation report, the officer who evaluated the former Stanford swimmer wrote that "when compared to other crimes of similar nature" the case "may be considered less serious due to [Turner's] level of intoxication."

Turner, 20, was convicted of three felonies for sexually assaulting an unconscious woman on January 18, 2015. He was sentenced to six months in jail and must register as a sex offender for life.

Many consider the sentence too lenient for the crime and have called for the judge to be recalled. Others have defended the sentence, arguing that the sex offender registration is "severe punishment."

California law states that a person convicted of assault with the intent to commit rape, one of the three felonies Turner was found guilty of, is not eligible for probation "except in unusual cases where the interests of justice would best be served if the person is granted probation."

The probation officer stated that in evaluating the case she weighed the fact that Turner did not have a criminal history, is "youthful," that he scored in the "low-moderate" range on the assessment of recidivism risk relative to other adult male sex offenders, and that he "expressed sincere remorse and empathy for the victim."

She continued: "During the presentence interview, the defendant demonstrated a comprehension that the victim, in her state, was unable to make an informed decision and in that moment he had a moral responsibility to act in her best interest, which he failed to do."

All this led the probation official to support granting Turner probation, although she admits in her statement that his eligibility for such a sentence is "limited." Her recommendation to the judge was that he receive a "moderate county jail sentence," three years of probation, and be forced to register as a sex offender.

Many have accused Judge Persky of granting Turner special consideration because he was an athlete at the same prestigious school the judge attended. But the probation official also apparently took Turner's status as a star swimmer into account, saying she weighed the fact that "his future prospects will likely be highly impacted as a result of his convictions, and he surrendered a hard earned swimming scholarship."

Prosecutor Alaleh Kianerci took issue with many of the determinations made in the probation report. The officer wrote that she considered the wishes of the victim in the case when recommending a sentence, quoting the young woman as saying, "I don't want him to rot away in jail; he doesn't need to be behind bars." But in her sentencing memo, Kianerci stated the victim felt her words were misconstrued. Although the victim - whose impact statement has gone viral - was "at times empathetic towards rehabilitation" in her statement to probation officers, "that empathy does not mean that she wants the defendant to not spend a day in prison," Kianceri wrote.

Prosecutors asked the judge to impose a sentence of six years in prison.

Kianerci also noted in her memo to the judge that Turner had a run-in with police in November 2014. According to the memo's narrative of this "prior arrest," Turner ran from police after an officer spotted him and some other males drinking on campus, and admitted to being in possession of a fake driver's license.

The prosecution also questioned how the probation department could determine that Turner expressed sincere remorse and empathy "while at the same time continuing to maintain his innocence."

The Los Angeles Times reports that Turner has filed an appeal in the case.

According to the Associated Press, California county jail inmates serve just 50 percent of their sentences if they keep a clean record, meaning Turner is expected to be released in three months, on Sept. 2.

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