Lawmakers in California just passed a bill that seeks to close a loophole allowing shorter prison sentences for those convicted of rape or sexual assault, Reuters reports. The bill was inspired by the recent Brock Turner case that has garnered national attention.
The bill, which still needs to be signed by California Gov. Jerry Brown, was supported unanimously by the state assembly and written by Santa Clara District Attorney Jeff Rosen. Rosen pushed for a longer jail sentence for Turner, who will be released from prison on September 2 after having served only half his sentence.
The new legislation would impose mandatory sentences on victims of sexual assault who were unconscious. Under current California law, mandatory sentences only apply to perpetrators of rape or assault by force. (Rape is also only an allowable charge in California if there was penetration with an organ, rather than a digit or object.)
In a statement, Rosen said, “It gave all of us the inspiration to make sure the next Brock Turner either leaves the next Emily Doe alone, or the next Brock Turner goes to prison,” reports Mercury News.
Assemblyman Bill Dodd made similar statements to Rosen. In a written statement, he said, “Sexually assaulting an unconscious or intoxicated victim is a terrible crime and our laws need to reflect that.” He continued, “This bill is about more than sentencing, it’s about supporting victims and changing the culture on our college campuses to help prevent future crimes.”
Had the proposed law been in place during Turner’s sentencing, Reuters notes he would have served a mandatory minimum of three years in jail.