California Gov. Jerry Brown said Friday that he signed two bills that emerged amid national outrage over the six-month jail sentence given to a former Stanford University swimmer who sexually assaulted a woman passed out near a trash bin. The AP reports the governor approved requiring sentences to be served in state prison for defendants convicted of assaulting unconscious victims instead of the jail sentence like the one Brock Turner received in June and served in a county jail before obtaining early release. Politicians and law enforcement officials have lined up alongside sexual assault survivors to criticize Turner's sentence, back a recall effort against the judge and urge Brown to sign the tougher sentencing legislation.
Brown said in a signing message that he usually opposes adding more mandatory minimum sentences. But he said he signed the sentencing bill "because I believe it brings a measure of parity to sentencing for criminal acts that are substantially similar." Brown also signed another bill permitting sexual assault victims to say in court that they were raped, even if the attack doesn't meet the technical definition under California law. State law defines rape as nonconsensual intercourse between a man and a woman, leaving out other forms of sexual assault, including Turner's 2015 attack on the woman he met at a fraternity party. He was convicted of three sexual assault felonies, including digital penetration of an unconscious woman. (Read more Brock Turner stories.)