Tennessee Governor Grants Cyntoia Brown Clemency


Samantha Valdez , Opinions Editor

At the age of 14, Cyntoia Brown was a placed in an adoption home due to her mother’s heavy drinking problem, shortly after she ran away from her adoptive home. Soon after she left, she met her pimp who she refers to as “Cut Throat.” He took her to a hotel and raped her viciously as she recalls, “The first time he did something to me is when he choked me and I passed out.” Shortly after that he took her as his sex slave and began trafficking Cyntoia.

Two years later she was bought by a 43-year-old man named Johnny Mitchell Allen. Allen took Cyntoia to his house where she had sexual relations with him, Brown claims that after everything had happened she began to feel really threatened by Allen. He would do things like reach into his pocket, which made her believe he was going to take out a gun and shoot her. Later on in the night, after Allen had fallen asleep, Cyntoia used a hand gun from her purse to shoot him in the head. Before leaving she took guns and money from the house along with his truck.

Brown was arrested in 2004 and when she was old enough to stand trial, she received a 51-year sentence before they could consider parole. Now Cyntoia is a 30-year-old woman, and Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam granted clemency to Brown.  She will be released from prison on August 7th exactly fifteen years after she was first convicted. While in prison Cyntoia received her GED, and with the help of a Tennessee organization from Lipscomb University’s LIFE program received an associates degree; she is continuing the program and is expected to gain her bachelors degree in May.

Social media has altered many people’s view on how this case was handled. When Cyntoia was first convicted she was referred to as a teen prostitute throughout the legal documents, and claimed Allen had been the victim but now she is the person considered the victim. Many famous people such as Rihanna and Kim Kardashian have supported Cyntoia and fought for her freedom as well. Cyntoia will be released on August 7 2019, fifteen years after she was initially convicted and will be on probation for 10 more years until Aug. 7, 2029. “I learned that my life was — and is — not over,” Brown said.