Millions upon millions of people have opined that Judge Persky was wrong to sentence Brock Turner to 6 months incarceration. Many have called for his removal from the bench because they found this sentence outrageous.
But what is the right sentence? Bear in mind, there are five factors to be considered in fashioning a sentence.
- Retribution (punishment)
- General Deterrence
- Specific Deterrence
Within that framework, parsimony requires that a defendant be sentenced to no more than is necessary to serve those functions.
There are collateral consequences as well, such as sex offender registration, with the regulatory limitations that come with it, such as where one can live and what jobs or licenses one can hold. Since the judge can’t do anything about the collateral consequences, you have to accept them as they are.
And then there is the impact that stems from societal views toward convicted felons. Right or wrong, they exist.
Sentencing isn’t a right or wrong proposition, but a balancing of values within the legitimate factors. Try not to introduce “facts” because you heard them somewhere and want to believe them because they bolster your views. Try to rely on the facts as existed at the time of sentence, the ones the court had before it when sentence was imposed. A mythology surrounding the case has since developed, so this can be hard to do, but try.
With this in mind, what is the proper sentence and why? There is no right answer.