RED ZONE: Four prison sentences longer than Brock Turner’s

Brock Turner is now a household name. The former Stanford student’s short sentence of just three months for raping an unconscious woman, despite the court recommendation of six years, is still widely protested and discussed on social media and the news.

The following sentences are of people — some innocent, some not — that were in prison longer than Turner.


In 2009, six Italian scientists went to prison for six years each because they failed to predict a natural disaster. The city of L’Aquila in Italy was hit by a 5.8 magnitude earthquake on April 6. Following the earthquake, some of the country’s top scientists were sentenced to prison for manslaughter and failing to accurately estimate the severity of the tremors the town experienced before the earthquake struck.

Another incident when someone was sentenced to jail longer than the ex-Stanford swimmer was Briseira Torres. Torres spent four months in jail due to authorities falsely believing she was an illegal immigrant in the United States. Authorities believed that Torres was from Mexico, when in fact she was born and raised in Arizona. They accused Torres of falsifying documents, such as her drivers license. Torres was eventually released and the charges were dropped.

Bryan Paul Smith is another that spent 14 months in prison for stealing his neighbor’s pet spider. Smith was pet-sitting for the eight legged creature when he decided to keep it in return for ransom money.

One more example, is Neil McArdle. On the day of his wedding, McArdle forgot to confirm the venue for his wedding. Instead of telling his bride-to-be about his mistake, he called in a bomb threat at the venue to avoid embarrassment. McArdle was sentenced for 12 months.

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These prison sentences, ridiculous or not, are all longer than Turner’s sexual assault sentence. Much criticism has been raised for this case due to it’s judicial bias in favor of men of privilege, particularly an athlete. Instances of rape and sexual assault can see punishments as severe as death in some countries, yet due to “good behavior,” Turner was able to walk free after only three months.

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