Below is the letter we will send to Davidson County DA:
Tell the DA: Free Cyntoia Brown now!
Cyntoia Brown's life matters and she deserves justice now. In 2004, at just 16 years old, Cyntoia Brown was sentenced to serve a mandatory life sentence in Tennessee for the killing of a 43-year-old man who sexually assaulted her. This is after years of abuse, trauma and being repeatedly sexually exploited including being kidnapped and sex trafficked. She is still imprisoned, continuing to suffer from more trauma. She is now 29 years old. She will only be eligible for parole when she is 67 years old, nearly 40 years from now.
No child should be sentenced to serve the rest of their life in prison. In 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that life sentences without the possibility of parole for juveniles convicted of non-violent crimes were unconstitutional. Then in 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court expanded their decision to ban all juvenile life without parole sentences. This meant that counties across the country had to review all cases where a child was sentenced to life without parole and give them a different sentence. But the mandate doesn't apply to Tennessee--where all life sentences must be reviewed after 50 years. It's a loophole that allows the state to trap young people in prison for life. There's a chance Cyntoia could never be granted parole or even pass away before she's ever eligible, meaning she would spend the rest of her life in prison. It's de facto life without parole and it is why Davidson County District Attorney Glenn Funk should immediately review all juvenile life sentence cases and reduce Cyntoia Brown's sentence to time she's already served--releasing her from prison NOW.
Not once did the judge, the courts and the District Attorney consider her long, painful history of surviving sexual violence. This is another devastating example of how the justice system time and time again fail Black people, especially young Black girls. Incarceration rate among young people are exponentially high and has long, damaging effects on families and communities. Furthermore, the justice system punishes and criminalizes Black girls and women for using their agency to fight back against abusers, and rapists, leaving many to sit in prison for decades without any reprieve.
It is long overdue for Davidson County District Attorney Glenn Funk to review all the cases of juveniles sentenced to life in Davidson County, as well as reduce Brown's sentence, and release her from prison.
Here is the Petition:
Dear General Glenn Funk,
Cyntoia Brown deserves freedom. Your office prides itself on serving justice and putting the needs of victims first, especially those who have experienced domestic violence. Yet Cyntoia Brown's history of experiencing abuse was ignored. Cyntoia Brown was only 16 years old when she was forced to serve a mandatory life sentence without any regard to her life and environment. It is a poor handling of justice. Right now, many young people like Cyntoia Brown are in prison serving extremely long sentences. This is not justice. She should never have been in prison in the first place. Your office has a duty to consider all factors for a person, especially a young child. We ask that you review her case, along with many other juvenile cases, reduce Cyntoia's sentence to time already served, furthermore we call on her immediate release from prison.