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Wednesday, October 3, 2012

J stands for Justice

Posted by JM Darhower Wednesday, October 03, 2012, under | 2 comments

AKA Free Sara Kruzan




So, okay, I know my blogs recently have been more on the 'serious business' side, and I promise to post something lighthearted soon, but this is something important that, in my opinion, just can't be ignored.

I'm all the time venting (and raging) about injustice in our justice system. It's one reason I'm personally against the death penalty--any system that potentially punishes innocent people by killing them is just something I can't support (if we could find a way to make it infallible, sure, but humans are prone to error, and it worries me... a lot). My heart hurt when Cameron Todd Willingham was executed in Texas, and again when Troy Davis was executed in Georgia, when both cases relied heavily on flawed evidence and unreliable witnesses (and recanted heavily testimony) to convict. Could they be guilty? Sure. But to execute a man when there's so much doubt just doesn't sit right with me.

This brings me to Sara Kruzan. She grew up with a drug addicted mother and suffered from severe depression since she was 9. At the age of 11, she met a 31-year-old man who treated her like a daughter (the father she never had, as she'd only met her real father three times) and he slowly started grooming her for prostitution. By 13, he was selling her for sex. At the age of 16, after years of abuse, she murdered him, took his money and car, and fled. She was arrested, tried for murder, and sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole. Life, at the age of 16, with absolutely no opportunity for release. She says she did it because another pimp said he'd kill her and her mother if she didn't. The prosecution said Kruzan was "no longer employed" by the pimp when she murdered him.

Employed. She was a child prostitute. She wasn't a fucking employee. She was a victim.

We can all agree that what Sara did was wrong. Murder is never the answer, and vigilante justice isn't something we can support. Even Sara understands that. She has spent the last 18 years in prison for killing the man who preyed on her as a child, who sold her, who abused her. She was a minor at the time, and the jury essentially told her she couldn't be redeemed. She wasn't worth trying to reform or save. They condemned her to die behind bars.

In 2011, Governor Schwarzenegger commuted her sentence to 25 years with the possibility of parole.  It's a start, certainly, but Sara still sits behind bars today, and could very well be there for many years to come. She's a human trafficking victim, a SURVIVOR, yet that wasn't taken into account.

She's 34 years old now and still fighting for a new trial. There's expected to be a ruling sometime this month as to whether or not she gets that new trial, where she can finally use the "battered partner" defense.

Watch the video, if you have a few minutes, and meet the girl behind the case. Hear the story in her own words. Then decide if your heart tells you she's "not redeemable".


2 comments:

WOW! I'm going to take a look at the video, but.... WOW! *shakes head*

check out sharedhope.org - it is just one of the organizations that is fighting trafficking at all levels, including within the public justice systems. I am so appreciative that you use your gift of writing to highlight the injustice of trafficking. It is so rampant today yet so many are unaware of it or are unwilling to believe it is true.

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