Governor Bill Haslam announced last week that he would be granting clemency to Lipscomb graduate Cyntoia Brown.
Since then, mixed reactions to Haslam’s decision have been broadcasted across the country.
Wednesday night, Brown’s story was featured on ABC’s “Nightline”, a late-night news program. The story examined everything from the factors that led to her sentence to the next steps to come after her release in August 2019.
The broadcast highlighted moments from the documentary Me Facing Life: Cyntoia’s story. The story was brought to Lipscomb’s campus in 2010, while Brown was working towards her associate’s degree from the University. The film was shown to Lipscomb students free of charge for the HumanDocs series that aimed to “encourage dialogue among students, faculty, and community members about pressing issues of social and economic justice and the environment.”
The HumanDocs film series included a panel discussion with several notable figures in Brown’s case, including Lipscomb professor Preston Shipp, a former appellate prosecutor for Brown’s case who ended up becoming her teacher through the LIFE Program.
Shipp’s coincidental presence in Brown’s life was highlighted in Nightline’s story. He once argued in favor of a life sentence for Brown. However, during Cyntoia’s July hearing, Shipp argued for her release.
“If you grant her early release, she is going to invest herself [in people] who might otherwise come to [the Tennessee Woman’s Prison],” Shipp said. “She will seek them out. She will find them. She will mentor and minister to them, and she will keep other people from coming here.”
Nightline reports that a sequel to the documentary, Me Facing Life: Cyntoia’s story, will be released later this year, focusing on Brown’s journey to clemency and the need for change in juvenile sentencing.
Daniel Burman, the documentary’s filmmaker, told Nightline that “maybe the blindfold of justice can be removed just a little bit so that we can consider bigger perspectives for all children.”
Photo courtesy of Lipscomb.edu