Back in July I wrote a post about an American victim of sexual exploitation, Sara Kruzan, who received a life sentence without parole for killing her pimp. She was 16 years old, and psychologists have argued that she suffered from Battered Person Syndrome. Here is the video clip that told her story:
For those of you who signed the petition to get this sentence reduced, you will be happy to know that on January 2, 2011, governor Arnold Schwarzenegger granted her clemency right before leaving office. That is the kind of power that a full mailbox with letters from activists can have! Her sentence has been reduced to 25 years with a possibility for parole. Sara has been in prison since 1994.
Democratic Senator Leyland Yee said this regarding Sara’s original sentence:
Life without parole means absolutely no opportunity for release… It also means minors are often left without access to programs and rehabilitative services while in prison. This sentence was created for the worst of criminals that have no possibility of reform and it is not a humane way to handle children. While the crimes they committed caused undeniable suffering, these youth offenders are not the worst of the worst.
Though it is fairly common for governors and presidents to grant clemency at the end of their term, it is nice to see that this one was not given to a political cronie or rich friend. I am so thankful that Schwarzenegger took the time to hear Sara’s story. I also commend Change.org for organizing a movement to help this young victim.
What do you think? If a victim of forced prostitution kills her captor, how should the justice system deal with them?