I sometimes examine white privilege in my crim justice writings, and I’m doing so in a memoir I’m currently working on. What’s interesting about Brock Turner, Oscar Pistorius is that they may’ve been given light sentences because they were white and outstanding athletes.
They are athletes in cultures (America and South Africa) where athleticism is prized. In such cultures super athletes, for sure, are treated leniently by their justice systems because of it.
Brock Turner—once a star swimmer at Stanford— was found guilty of sexually assaulting a 22-year-old, unconscious woman in 2015.S
Defense attorneys helped murderer Oscar Pistorius appear “Broken” and rapist Brock Turner describe his “Brokenness” –a common ploy that allows white privileged males to win lenient sentences.
How the attorneys did this was laid out in an article a year ago. It bears republishing, which I’ve done here with slight condensing.
How Brock Turner, Oscar Pistorius’ defense teams tried to elicit sympathy for their clients.
Oscar Pistorius at his pre sentencing hearing 3 yrs ago. AFP
Oscar Pistorius hobbles around, a “broken man.
“Pistorius’ defense team have tried to elicit sympathy from the judge [during the sentencing trial] by painting their client as a man who deserves leniency…
Pistorius’ defense lawyer asked his client to remove his prostheses and show the judge how difficult it is for him to walk unassisted.
Wearing sportswear emblazoned with the logos of his former sponsor Nike, Pistorius was unsteady at times, holding onto wooden desks and helped by a
woman at one point. He then returned to a bench where he sat alone, head bowed, and wiped away tears. The demonstration drew gasps from some
onlookers in the courtroom.
“I don’t want to overplay disability,” his lawyer Barry Roux said, ‘but the time has come that we must just look [at Pistorius] with different eyes.’
…[D]efense psychologist Dr Jonathan Scholtz argued time in prison “would not be psychologically or socially constructive” and that Pistorius was not a threat to society.
“One would describe him as broken. In my opinion his current condition warrants hospitalisation,” Dr Scholtz said.
Rapist Brock Turner describes himself the same way.
“Broken” is also how convicted rapist Brock Turner described himself, after he was found guilty of sexually assaulting a 22-year-old woman at Stanford University in 2015.
“My shell and core of who I am as a person is forever broken from this. I am a changed person,” Turner wrote in a statement submitted to a Californian court.
He blamed alcohol, college party culture and “sexual promiscuity” for what happened that night, and mourned the loss of his reputation.
“The night of January 17th changed my life and the lives of everyone involved forever. I can never go back to being the person I was before that day,” he wrote.
“I am no longer a swimmer, a student, a resident of California, or the product of the work that I put in to accomplish the goals that I set out in the first nineteen years of my life.
“I’ve lost my ability to obtain a Stanford degree. I’ve lost employment opportunity, my reputation and most of all, my life.”
Both Turner and Pistorius have refused to take responsibility for their actions, never apologized…
“They focus on the defender and his personal attributes. With Turner it was the fact he was an elite swimmer and with Pistorius that he was a Paralympian,” she told news.com.au.”
A few more words about The People v Brock Turner.
The prosecutor argued that Turner should spend six years in prison. The judge ruled he should be jailed for six months. Jailers released him after 3 months for “good behavior.**”
Because of the outrage the sentence stirred, a new California law calls for a mandatory minimum 3-year prison sentence for sexual assault of an unconscious or intoxicated person.