Sex trafficking victim Cyntoia Brown was granted clemency by Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam on Monday, after serving 15 years of a life sentence for killing a 43-year-old man who “bought” her for sex when she was just 16. Recently, Brown’s sentence had drawn national attention after celebrities such as Kim Kardashian, Rihanna, Amy Schumer, and leveraged their celebrity to bring exposure spotlight to the case. Kardashian even spoke to the president and recruited her legal team to work on Brown’s behalf. Clearly, it paid off.
For his part, Haslam said that the decision “comes after careful consideration of what is a tragic and complex case.”
Cyntoia Brown committed, by her own admission, a horrific crime at the age of 16. Yet, imposing a life sentence on a juvenile that would require her to serve at least 51 years before even being eligible for parole consideration is too harsh, especially in light of the extraordinary steps Ms. Brown has taken to rebuild her life. Transformation should be accompanied by hope.”
Brown will be released on August 7, 2019, and will spend the next 10 years on parole supervision. In a statement, she expressed that she is thankful for all the support, prayers, and encouragement that she has received.
I am thankful to my lawyers and their staffs, and all the others who, for the last decade have freely given their time and expertise to help me get to this day. I love all of you and will be forever grateful.
With God’s help, I am committed to live the rest of my life helping others, especially young people. My hope is to help other young girls avoid ending up where I have been.”
With so many moved by Brown’s ordeal, celebrities, journalists, and others celebrated the Governor’s decision on Twitter.