A California appeals court on Tuesday heard arguments appealing the conviction of Brock Turner, the former Stanford swimmer.
Turner, convicted of three counts stemming from a 2015 sexual assault of an unconscious woman, was not present in the courtroom.
There is a “lack of sufficient evidence to support three convictions,” argued Eric Multhaup, Turner’s lawyer.
(The convictions included intent to commit rape, digital penetration of an intoxicated person and digital penetration of an unconscious person.)
The latest development comes more than a month after Santa Clara County voters recalled Judge Aaron Persky, who oversaw the trial. Persky drew the ire of a large segment of the community for sentencing Turner to six months in county jail, for which he served three months because the jail was overcrowded. Prosecutors had asked for a six-year sentence. As a result of the sentence, Turner, 22, must register as a sex offender for life.
In arguing for overturning the convictions, Multhaup is taking issue over when the victim, known as Emily Doe, became unconscious.
“There’s no evidence at what point she went from being incapacitated from alcohol to loss of consciousness,” he argued.
If the appeals court judges decide the victim was not unconscious during the time of the encounter, as Turner maintained, they might be more sympathetic to granting the appeal.
But on Tuesday, they appeared to be skeptical of Multhaup’s statements and seemed unmoved by his arguments.
Alisha Carlile, an attorney representing the state of California, highlighted trial testimony that said bystanders “could tell from 30 feet away” the victim was unconscious.
The case entered the national spotlight after the victim penned an emotionally searing letter that she read to Turner at his sentencing. Within days, it went viral on the internet.
“You don’t know me, but you’ve been inside me, and that’s why we’re here today, the letter began.
“You made me a victim. In newspapers my name was ‘unconscious intoxicated woman,’ 10 syllables, and nothing more than that. For a while, I believe that that was all I was.”
The California appeals court will deliberate before reaching a decision, likely within 90 days.