Nel's New Day

June 1, 2017

Another Light Sentence for Rape

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and his employer, Dictator Donald Trump (DDT), are concerned about stricter laws for drug users (aka blacks), but they have said nothing about rape. In another case of white male entitlement, a judge sentenced Nolan Bruder, 20, to three years with all except 240 days suspended in favor of probation, according to the Crescent City Times. Bruder will spend only four months in jail because of California’s felony sentencing realignment.

Bruder’s victim was his 16-year-old sister. She fought his sexual advances, but he kept giving her drugs until she gave in. She didn’t even realize that he was her brother. Deputy District Attorney Annamarie Padilla argued that the sentence should follow the probation department’s recommendation of six years in state prison, but Judge William H. Follett responded that the victim was conscious and took her own clothes off. Padilla pointed out that an interpretation of the law denies probation if a conscious person is forcibly raped. Bruder had given a video-taped confession, but Follett questioned whether there was enough evidence for conviction. He also thought that Bruder had suffered enough “stigma” and that Bruder had not given his victim the drugs to incapacitate her in order to commit rape.

In a police interview, Bruder said that “at first when he asked if (the victim) wanted to have sex, she did not give a direct no or not really. The second time he asked, ‘Are you sure’? The third time, he wasn’t sure if he asked or if the two came to the decision together.” He acknowledged that “she was probably stoned.”

The Del Norte County District Attorney, Dale Trigg, strongly disagreed with the light sentence:

“I could not disagree more. The message that this sends to our community is that sexual predators who get their juvenile siblings stoned enough can have sex with them without any meaningful consequence.  That is not the message I want to send to our community.”

Trigg compared the case with the Brock Turner case in the southern part of the state. A Stanford University swimmer spent only three months in jail for sexually assaulting an unconscious woman.

When Follett ran for judge, he said that he strived “to ensure that people appearing in court are treated fairly and with dignity.” He seemed more concerned with drug use, however, saying that he “implemented strict drug testing to force abstinence as a condition to continuing treatment and avoiding jail.”

Bruder expressed disappointment with his treatment during the case. He claimed that “the D.A.’s Office stated the facts and chose the most condescending way to state those facts and it misconstrued what happened and that seems like an obstruction of justice,” according to the pre-sentence report. The Del Monte Triplicate reported that Defense Attorney Karen Olsen “argued the incident stemmed from bad decisions.”

At least three probation officers reported that Bruder “showed no real remorse and seemed smug.” The report added that Bruder “tried to normalize, minimize and excuse his predatory behavior.” Bruder had molested his sister nine years earlier when she was seven.

Follett has a history of light sentences for white men in case of sexual assault. After a former Del Norte High School coach was found guilty on multiple counts of an inappropriate relationship with a 16-year-old boy, the DA and probation asked for a five-year prison term. Follett gave him three years of probation and one year in jail for two felonies and two misdemeanors.  Young was the boy’s cheer coach who disobeyed a court order to see the boy, lied to the jury, and convinced the boy not to cooperate with the investigation. Follett’s excuse for the light sentence was that the victim was willing to have the relationships despite Trigg’s statement that juveniles cannot be willing participants in a sexual relationship with an adult.

Michele Dauber, a Stanford law professor, said the sentence in Bruder’s case demonstrates  a “failure to hold a young man accountable for a sickening felony sex crime. Indeed the probation department recommended prison, so this is really a case of the judge exhibiting bias, and it is very clear and very obvious.” She is currently leading a recall effort against Aaron Persky, the Santa Clara County judge who gave the light sentence in the Turner case. The effort is targeting June 2018 to put the recall on the ballot.

As Dauber wrote, “Until women start using the power we have at the ballot to elect judges who take sex crimes seriously, this will keep happening.”

If you agree, you sign this petition to remove Judge William H. Follett from the bench.



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