Gov. Haslam believes he made ‘right call’ by granting clemency to Cyntoia Brown

Local News

Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam says everyone he spoke to about Cyntoia Brown called her the “real deal,” a story of rehabilitation and redemption.

In one of the last interviews in office, Governor Haslam explained why he says his Cyntoia Brown decision was the right thing to do.

“Our job was to kind of separate all of the publicity from celebrities and activists and celebrities and say thanks, and we got a lot of phone calls around here and say that’s all fine, but our job is to look at it on the legal merits and her case and treat it just like every other like every other one,” said Haslam.

Brown’s case gained national attention from celebrities like Kim Kardashian West and activists across the U.S. Gov. Haslam said the most difficult part of his decision was separating what he referred to as “noise” from the circumstances and facts surrounding the request.  

“Nobody wants you making a legal decision based on the number of phone calls you get. You just don’t want to do that,” the governor said.  

Gov. Haslam told News 2 he believes he made the right choice in granting Brown clemency. 

“In the end, I honestly think we made the right call, but one of the things we’re trying to do is to be consistent. We’re looking at a lot of pardon requests – we still are – a lot of clemency commutation requests, and you want to make certain that if you do something it fits in with what you think and what you’ve done in other cases,” he said.  

The governor said he has not met with Brown or anyone who has asked and been granted clemency. His team does meet with their attorneys.  

Brown will be released to parole supervision on August 7, exactly 15 years to the day when she was arrested. 

She was 16-years-old when she was sentenced to life in prison for murdering a Nashville man in 2004. Brown claimed she was trapped in prostitution and a victim of child sex trafficking when she shot and killed Jimmy Allen. 

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