I appeared on Fox News Happening Now with co-guest, Lis Wiehl, Esq., and host Melissa Francis to discuss the brutal college rape conviction and sentence of the perpetrator who only received a 6-month sentence when the prosecution was asking for 14 years.
This case really sickens me as a former NJ County Prosecutor who saw firsthand the carnage this kind of crime causes to a victim, as well as the epidemic instances of rape on college campuses which seem to be oftentimes minimized in the criminal justice system.
In this case, the young lady was drunk, unconscious, and taken to a dumpster where she was raped and violated in a horrific way including the insertion of foreign objects into her body parts. Thankfully, two young men walking past the crime scene stopped the continued rape and held the perpetrator until police arrived.
The offender was a college student, a swimmer, and came from a well to do family. His father at sentencing outraged many by saying his son already paid a steep price for “…20 minutes of action…”
This sentence is an outrage. We are warehousing offenders in this county at an alarming rate. I have always stated as a former NJ Prosecutor and now NJ Criminal defense lawyer that we need to reform the criminal justice system to allow non-violent, low-level offenders to receive punishment that does not always have to be jail time. But, this is not the case here.
The judge, in this case, felt that there was not a risk that the defendant would commit another offense and that it would be a hardship for the defendant to go to jail. This was an amazingly ridiculous statement to me. Rather, there is a strong need to deter this conduct and punish offenders who violate people in the sick and disgusting way this man did to a helpless and unconscious victim!
And worse yet, the defendant showed no remorse whatsoever for the victim still arguing after having been convicted by a jury (and despite the testimony of the victim and 2 young men who stopped him) that this young lady was unconscious) that the victim consented to this vile acts. That alone shows the defendant does not even recognize that his actions were wrong, has no remorse, thereby increasing the likelihood that he is a higher risk for re-offense. The lack of remorse and acceptance of responsibility are always “aggravating circumstances” with judges when imposing sentencing. But, not with this judge.
Prosecutors and the persons in the criminal justice system need to use the “rule of reason” when doing their jobs. It is our primary role to protect the society from violent offenders. So too, rehabilitation is a worthy and laudable goal. However, you have to balance that with ensuring jail is given to those that commit such violent offenses. This slap on the wrist sends the wrong message!
And, there are so many other offenders (many times minorities) that have done far less and are serving far more jail time than this man. When prosecuting and/or judging, you have to show consistency among offenders and crime classes to ensure all are being treated fairly and equally under the law. This sentence is a violation of that very important principle.
As a former NJ prosecutor, this is the kind of case you pursue with vigor and zeal. How this judge came to his sentencing conclusions is an insult to victims everywhere, and even to other defendants who are serving lengthy sentences for crimes that are far less serious in nature. The public loses confidence when things like this happen in the criminal justice system and for good reason.
As I stated on the TV segment, this young, totally helpless, and forever violated woman has been raped twice now. First, on the day of the incident, and now by the “justice” system.
I have attached a link to her victim impact statement. It is compelling. I am in disbelief that after hearing that the judge gave this man a “slap on the wrists.” http://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/real-life/true-stories/this-is-the-full-statement-read-out-in-court-by-the-woman-brock-turner-assaulted/news-story/88fd97dadede453fbde82609893fa29b
What are your thoughts?
© Robert (Bob) Bianchi, Esq
NJ Supreme Court Certified Criminal Trial Attorney
Former NJ head County Prosecutor
National TV Legal Analyst