Brock Turner, who was convicted of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman in 2015, was released from jail Friday after serving three months.
Turner, a 21-year-old former Stanford swimmer, exited the Santa Clara County jail around 6 a.m. local time carrying a paper bag filled with his belongings, according to Reuters.
Written statements from Turner’s father and the victim propelled the court case into the national spotlight last year and ignited public outcry.
Turner’s lawyer argued that both the plaintiff and defendant’s judgments were impaired by alcohol that night. His father received backlash after writing that his son’s life had been ruined by the incident and that his six-month conviction was “a steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action out of his 20 plus years of life.”
Critics said that Judge Aaron Persky’s sentence for Turner — six months in jail — was too lenient. But the judge agreed that Turner’s future would suffer if he imposed the harshest punishment.
“[The] character letters that have been submitted do show a huge collateral consequence for Mr. Turner based on the conviction,” Judge Persky wrote in a statement explaining his decision.
After public uproar and a push for recall, Judge Persky requested to no longer hear criminal cases starting next week, the Associated Press reported.
The victim’s letter, addressed to Turner, swept across news outlets and social media after she read it at Turner’s sentencing in June.
“Your life is not over, you have decades of years ahead to rewrite your story,” she wrote. “But right now, you do not get to shrug your shoulders and be confused anymore. You do not get to pretend that there were no red flags. You have been convicted of violating me, intentionally, forcibly, sexually, with malicious intent, and all you can admit to is consuming alcohol.”
In California county jails, it is not uncommon for inmates to serve half of their sentences if well-behaved, according to the Associated Press.
Turner must register as a sex offender for the rest of his life and will receive three years of supervised probation.