On Friday, California Gov. Jerry Brown essentially decided that a woman who received a life sentence for killing her abusive pimp in 1994 would be allowed to keep her impending freedom.
Sara Kruzan was only 17 when she was sentence to life in prison for the shooting death of George Gilbert Howard, who she contended had sexually abused her and “groomed” her for sex work since she was 11. Her case attracted widespread media attention in 2010 after Human Rights Watch posted an interview of Kruzan on YouTube. During the interview, Kruzan recounts a harrowing childhood in the care of an abusive, drug addicted mother, and how she eventually ended up at the mercy of Howard.
State Sen. Leland Yee used Kruzan’s case as a high-profile example of the need to soften harsh sentences for juveniles in California, and in 2010, Gov. Schwarzenegger (which is still an incredibly weird thing to write in a serious context) commuted Kruzan’s sentence to 25-years-to-life with the possibility of parole. At the time, according to the report from CBS, Schwarzenegger wrote in his commutation message:
<blockquote>Given Ms. Kruzan's age at the time of the murder, and considering the significant abuse she suffered at his hands, I believe Ms. Kruzan's sentence is excessive it is apparent that Ms. Kruzan suffered significant abuse starting at a vulnerable age.</blockquote>
Brown decided not to take any action on a state parole board’s decision to grant Kruzan parole, a non-move that allows the board’s decision to go into effect.
<small><em>Image via <a href=http://www.apimages.com/">AP</a></em></small>