Governor Says He Is Considering Clemency For Sex Trafficking Victim Cyntoia Brown, Celebs Advocate For Her Freedom
Cyntoia Brown was sentenced to life in prison after being convicted of first-degree murder, felony murder, and aggravated robbery committed over a decade ago. In 2004, Brown shot and murdered Johnny Allen, 43, a man who picked up the-then-16-year-old off a Nashville highway, took her home for sex. Once in his bedroom Brown thought the real estate agent was reaching for his gun, which in turn influenced her to shoot him. She then drove his car to a Wal-Mart parking lot and walked back to her hotel room with her live-in boyfriend/pimp named Kut Throat, 24.
14 years later, the Tennessee Supreme Court ruled last week Brown would be serving at least 51 years before being up for parole for the murder of Allen in ’04.
As Brown has continued to fight for freedom, citing a Supreme Court ruling in 2012 which identifies mandatory life sentences for juveniles without the possibility of parole are unconstitutional, citizens are fighting for her freedom also. Justin Lang questioned Tennessee governor Bill Haslam on Monday during his speech on education at a public library. Lang inquired if Haslam and his office were considering granting clemency to Brown over the verdict which Brown has labeled as “cruel and unusual punishment.”
During the question-and-answer portion of the speech Lang said,
And so I ask you, what really, functionally, is the difference between life without parole—which is no longer constitutional as the United States Supreme Court declared for minors, for any crime—and ‘you might get parole after 51 years,’ for a victim of sex trafficking? And so I ask why has Cyntoia Brown been incarcerated for 14 years for enduring harm? And so I say Governor Haslam, you have the power and ability to grant clemency to Cyntoia Brown, and so I ask when will you grant her clemency, I ask what will be your legacy as you leave office, and how will you answer to this human rights violation that the state of Tennessee is committing by keeping her incarcerated?
Haslam responded to the inquiry,
We’re reviewing a lot of cases, and while Cyntoia’s case has gotten a lot of publicity, I don’t think you want us to treat hers any different than a whole lot of cases that I think people want us to review.
Clemency is the same act Kim Kardashian asked Donald Trump to use on the freeing of Alice Marie Johnson this past June. Haslam is slated to leave the Governer’s office in January 2019 and plans to reach a decision in the next six weeks. Celebrities like Kim Kardashian, Rihanna, and most recently Viola Davis, Meek Mill, Ty Dolla $ign, and T.I. have used their social platforms in order to advocate for the freeing of Brown.