Oakwood Municipal Court Judge Margaret Quinn is one of several area leaders and residents who wrote letters to Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky pleading for leniency in the sentencing of Brock Turner, a former Oakwood swimmer convicted of sexually assaulting a woman at Stanford University in California.
Here is Quinn’s full letter:
Dear Judge Persky,
April 28, 2016
As I know many others have, I am writing to you concerning the upcoming sentencing of nineteen-year old Brock Turner from Dayton, Ohio. I have known Brock’s parents, Dan and Carleen Turner, and their three children Brent, Caroline, and Brock, for the past fifteen years through Holy Angels parish organizations, through our childrens’ elementary and high school activities, and as neighbors.
I am a retired federal prosecutor, mom of five and foster mom to many. Since my retirement I have been involved in programs which assist felons in the very difficult task of reintegration. As I know you are aware, the collateral consequences of a conviction are staggering. The immediate consequences of Brock’s convictions go far beyond expulsion from Stanford or loss of a swimming scholarship. While shameful to a nineteen-year-old freshman, those consequences pale when measured against the requirement of continued registration as a sex offender, or the very limited job opportunities that will be available to Brock.
It is evident, especially within the last few years, that sexual misconduct is a growing concern on college campuses; it is a very real problem. This rising concern has encouraged many college campuses to put sexual misconduct at the forefront of the discussion table. More and more universities are implementing mandatory workshops aimed at educating incoming freshman on the importance of consensual sex, effective communication between partners, healthy relationships, and safe drinking practices on college campuses. These educational programs for incoming students are effective; a comprehensive approach to educating students on the dangers of excessive alcohol consumption and sexual misconduct is the most effective way to combat these issues that are all too relevant on college campuses.
If the Court saw fit, perhaps Brock could better serve his future development and that of other young men, in counselling them, speaking to them, warning them about the devastating consequences of a single decision. Brock could have the unique opportunity to mentor students on this complex issue that young people from all over the country will undoubtedly face in their lifetime.
I met with Brock and his family last week. They are devastated. Brock himself is despondent; he is broken. There is no doubt Brock made a mistake that night — he made a mistake in drinking excessively to the point where he could not fully appreciate that his female acquaintance was so intoxicated. I know Brock did not go to that party intending to hurt, or entice, or overpower anyone. That is not his nature. It never has been. This unfortunate series of events has left Brock in despair. Rather than strip him of any chance to rectify this situation, I hope his punishment enables him to educate young people on the importance of safe alcohol consumption, and effective communication between two consenting individuals.
I believe a prison term will serve no useful purpose in Brock’s case. He is forever changed by the events of that night. Judge please consider other options to prison — options which will serve the purpose for which a sentence is imposed, and options which will leave a future for this very scared young man. Probation could include heavy reporting requirements, counselling, community service in multiple ways, including speaking out about the dangers of excessive alcohol consumption, college partying, and the “hook-up” culture on college campuses throughout the United States.
I ask the Court to consider Brock’s future, or lack thereof, when implementing his sentence. I wholeheartedly believe that good can come from this unfortunate chain of events by salvaging Brock’s future and allowing him to mentor other young people in promoting a culture of responsible drinking practices, effective communication, and overall safety on college campuses.
Thank you Judge, for your consideration.
Margaret M. Quinn, Esq.