Cyntoia Brown, a sex-trafficking victim who is serving a life sentence for killing her pimp when she was 16-years-old, will be given the chance to appear before a federal court to plead for leniency, Yahoo News is reporting.
Brown, who is now 30, was 16-years-old when she killed Johnny Allen. She testified in court that she killed Allen, who had paid to have sex with her, in self-defense, believing that he was going to kill her. It was also revealed that Brown had been forced into a life of prostitution.
Jurors learned, for example, that from a young age Brown had been repeatedly raped, as well as beaten, choked, threatened at gunpoint, and otherwise suffered from verbal, physical, and sexual abuse.
As The Pacific Standard would later report, by August 6, 2004, Cyntoia had come under the control of a pimp, known only as “Kut-Throat” or “Kut,” who pimped her out to Allen, a 43-year-old real estate agent.
Brown was tried as an adult and sentenced to life in prison with no possibility of parole until she’s 51-years-old.
Her case drew international attention, with social justice activists the world over expressing disdain that Brown was tried as an adult and calling into question the severity of her sentence considering the circumstances of her life. Documentary filmmaker Daniel H. Birman produced a film about her: Me Facing Life: Cyntoia’s Story.
Several celebrities have also taken up her cause, including Rihanna and LeBron James. Another celebrity supporter may actually be able to get Cyntoia some help: Kim Kardashian West, who got the ear of none other than Donald Trump on another case of injustice, has also come to the young woman’s defense.
“The system has failed. It’s heart breaking to see a young girl sex trafficked then when she has the courage to fight back is jailed for life! We have to do better & do what’s right. I’ve called my attorneys yesterday to see what can be done to fix this.”
And in fact, Kim’s legal team has confirmed that they’ve been in talks with Brown’s legal team to discuss what can be done.
Now it appears that all of those pleas for leniency have gotten the attention of the federal court system. She’s been granted a hearing in a federal courtroom in Cincinnati, and a judge will hear oral arguments in her case this week.
When her attorneys make their case for her release, they’ll likely cite recent Supreme Court decisions that say that life sentences for minors are unconstitutional.