Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Cyntoia Brown

That any girl can be facing life in prison for a crime she committed at age 16 is mind-boggling enough. But as the circumstances of Nashvillian Cyntoia Brown's case become clear, her sentence seems even more incomprehensible. There's no denying the violence of the crime: Brown shot a john she claims she thought was reaching for a gun.

As Dan Birman's documentary shows, however, it's difficult to understand why Brown was tried as an adult and how the murder could have been premeditated. Nashville's juvenile justice system allowed the filmmaker generous access to Brown, and the footage is compelling and heartbreaking. Particularly devastating are the early interviews, which show that Brown was clearly still a child — not to mention a victim of physical and sexual abuse for as long as she could remember.

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