Cyntoia Brown has been facing hardship her entire life, with currently no end in sight. Brown is currently serving a life sentence for killing a 43-year-old man who bought her when she was just 16 years old for sex. Brown cited self-defense during her trial, as she was a minor at the time being sex-trafficked and in fear for her life, but she was tried as an adult anyway back in 2004, was found guilty, and has been in prison ever since.
Her case went viral in 2017, sparking outrage from everyone who read about her, including celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Rihanna. Her story has become incredibly popular on social media platforms such as Twitter and Instagram. Hashtags, including #FreeCyntoiaBrown and #Clemency4Cyntoia, can be found online, along with multiple petitions making their rounds. Supporters of Brown include members of the US Congress, Ashley Judd, Amy Schumer, and some lawmakers from Tennessee. Since then, calls for her to be granted clemency have been heard far and wide.
Those calls now have the potential to be granted by Governor Bill Haslam of Tennessee. Haslam has the ability to grant Brown clemency before the end of his term on January 19th. Haslam has multiple options to choose from over the course of the next couple of weeks. Haslam can commute her sentence, allow her release citing time served, issue a pardon, or grant clemency altogether.
While the countdown may be coming to a close soon, it is common for most politicians to wait to issue clemency orders until their terms are nearly finished. A statement released from his office said the governor is currently reviewing multiple clemency applications, and that other grants will be forthcoming.
If Haslam chooses not to grant Brown clemency before he leaves office, the issue will be passed down to his replacement, Governor Bill Lee. Due to all this support of her case, Brown and her supporters are incredibly hopeful for a positive outcome, and for Brown to get the justice she deserves.