While the crime is known as the Stanford rape case, Turner was in fact not convicted of rape but three felony counts of sexual assault. "What we are saying that what happened is not a crime," said Turner's legal adviser, John Tompkins, to Bay Area news outlet KNTV-TV. "It happened, but it was not anywhere close to a crime."
Tompkins said they are appealing is because the facts do not reflect the verdict. In the 172-page appeal, Turner's legal team claims that they were at a disadvantage for three reasons: The jury did not get a lot of evidence that represented Turner's character; The jury was not allowed to consider a lesser offense; The jury was subjected to "extensive 'behind-the-dumpster' propaganda."
Turner was sentenced to six months in jail in March 2016, a conviction which garnered the case national attention. He spent only spent three months in jail before being released. Prosecutors recommended Turner receive a six-year sentence.
Critics accused Judge Aaron Persky, who presided over the case, of being far too lenient. Persky released a statement following the trial in an attempt to explain his reasoning behind the conviction. "California law requires every judge to consider rehabilitation and probation for first-time offenders," he wrote stating that his job requires him to consider both sides. The reason he was not convicted of rape had to do with the laws in place at the time. The case inspired California lawmakers to expand the legal definition of rape to include all forms of non-consensual sex and implement mandatory minimum sentences for sexual assault offenders.
Along with the brief jail time, Turner was given a mandatory lifetime requirement to register as a sex offender, something he and his lawyers hope will be overturned in the new trial.