California appellate court weighs ex-Stanford swimmer's conviction

Sommer Brokaw

July 25 (UPI) -- An attorney for a former Stanford University swimmer convicted two years ago of sexually assaulting a woman on campus is trying to get the conviction overturned.

Attorney Eric Multhaup filed an appeal in California state court for Brock Turner, arguing the trial jury had to engage in "speculation" to conclude he committed the crime.


"They filled in the blanks in the prosecution's case," Multhaup told the three-judge panel. "That's imagination. That's speculation."

Multhaup had 15 minutes to make his oral argument to Associate Justices Franklin Elia, Wendy Clark Duffy and Adrienne Grover.

He said the evidence against Turner was circumstantial and was insufficient to convict beyond a reasonable doubt. He also said Turner was fully clothed during the 2015 encounter, so he engaged in "outercourse," instead of an intent to commit rape.

Elia rejected the argument, citing Supreme Court precedent that says evidence of a defendant exposing himself is not needed to prove intent.

Deputy Attorney General Alisha Carlile argued Multhaup was asking the court to "act as a super fact-finder" and reject the jury's verdict in favor of a "far-fetched version of events," Palo Alto News reported.


The court will issue a ruling within 90 days.

A Santa Clara County jury found Turner guilty of sexual assault in 2016. The short sentence led voters to successfully recall Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky. He was the first judge in California to be so punished in 86 years.

Turner served three months of the six-month sentence for good behavior.

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