California governor Jerry Brown signed into law two bills designed to close the loopholes that allowed Brock Turner, the Stanford rapist, to receive little more than a slap on the wrist.
The first, Assembly Bill 2888, requires a mandatory stint in state prison for anyone convicted of “certain sex crimes such as rape, sodomy and forced oral copulation when the victim is unconscious or prevented from resisting by any intoxicating, anesthetic or controlled substance.” It’s a direct response to Judge Aaron Persky’s ruling in Turner’s case, which gave the rapist six months in jail for the sexual assault of an unconscious woman. Additionally, Turner only served three of the six months.
Assembly Bill 701 expands the state’s definition of rape to include “all forms of nonconsensual sexual assault,” as opposed to the previous definition of “‘an act of sexual intercourse’ under certain conditions of force, duress or lack of consent.”
The laws will go into effect on January 1. Legislators hope that these bills will send a message to attackers and judges alike. Assemblyman Evan Low, who co-authored AB 2888 with Bill Dodd, stated, “This sends the strongest possible message that rape is rape, and in California, if you do the crime, you’re going to do the time. Judge Persky’s ruling was unjustifiable and morally wrong, however, under current state law it was within his discretion. While we can’t go back and change what happened, we have made sure it never happens again.”