Grant Commutation for Incarcerated Survivor Tomiekia Johnson!

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SUMMARY

Tomiekia Johnson is a Black mother, an incarcerated survivor of ongoing severe domestic violence, and a former highway patrol officer. While attempting to defend herself from physical violence by her abusive husband, Tomiekia and her husband struggled with a gun, resulting in a fatal shot that ended his life. Tomiekia was convicted and sentenced to 50 years to life (25 years to life with an additional 25 to life for a gun enhancement). Due to a series of systemic biases, her trial failed to take into account the context of profound violence that she experienced within the relationship. Because of the constant danger domestic violence caused for Tomiekia, she has been in prison since 2012, forcibly separating her from her child, family, and community.

Join us in asking Governor Gavin Newsom to commute Tomiekia’s sentence so that she can recover with the support of her loving family.

BACKGROUND

Tomiekia Johnson is a Black mother, an incarcerated survivor of ongoing severe domestic violence, and a former highway patrol officer. While defending her life during a physical assault by her husband, he was fatally shot. Tomiekia was convicted and sentenced to 25 years to Life with an additional 25-year sentence due to a gun enhancement. Due to a series of systemic biases, her trial failed to take into account the context of profound violence that she experienced within the relationship.  

For years, Tomiekia experienced severe intimate partner violence, creating an increasingly untenable situation as she did her best to survive. She was targeted with ongoing psychological and physical violence, threats, and coercion from her husband, filling her with fear for her life and for her family’s safety. In 2009, Tomiekia’s husband physically assaulted her in the car while she was driving. While attempting to defend herself from physical violence by her abusive husband, Tomiekia and her husband struggled with a gun, resulting in a fatal shot that ended his life. Tomiekia’s mother called 911 immediately after this happened and Tomiekia was not arrested or charged until two years later. Despite video evidence of her husband abusing her before they got in the car, she was not believed as a victim of domestic violence and her experience of abuse was not taken into account during her trial.

In prison, Tomiekia has demonstrated community leadership through facilitating self-help groups and personal development groups such as Pathways to Freedom. She also consistently volunteers for charity and holiday programs, doing so as a practice of her Christian faith, and she is a facilitator for the Live, Learn, and Prosper program where she supports others who have experienced trauma. In addition to her service to others, Tomiekia has continued to build on her education. Tomiekia has deep moral principles and faith and, although she acknowledges that she acted in a context of intimate partner violence, she is also profoundly remorseful for the events that led to her conviction.

If released, Tomiekia will be surrounded by a supportive community who need her and look forward to being there for her as she navigates her process of recovering from the traumatic events she has experienced. She hopes to rebuild her life and become a mentor and public speaker about domestic violence, especially for young Black women who are struggling with similar kinds of intersections of violence.

Survivors of domestic and sexual violence should be supported, not punished and imprisoned for the rest of their lives. We urge you to commute Tomiekia’s sentence. Thank you for your attention to this important matter.


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