Governor Haslam Grants Executive Clemency To 4

Posted at 3:32 PM, Jul 26, 2018

Gov. Bill Haslam granted executive clemency to four people and is considering more requests.

On Thursday, Haslam announced Thursday that Michelle Lea Martin's 25-year prison sentence was commuted to supervised parole.

Martin pleaded guilty to her father's 2001 second-degree murder. He abused her mother and inflicted childhood sexual and drug abuse on Martin. Martin earned a GED and college degree.

Ralph Randall Reagan was pardoned for 1980 and 1982 burglary convictions and his 1984 escape conviction. He earned a theology doctorate and started a homeless shelter.

Robert James Sheard Jr. was pardoned for 1984 misdemeanor assault and battery conviction. He was a 30-year Memphis city employee and youth mentor.

Steven Lee Kennedy's pardon for his 1979 aiding and abetting fraudulent credit card use conviction follows Navy service from 1981 to 2008.

"Three of the four were out of prison. One is still incarcerated and will be until December. Some of these show clear evidence of rehabilitation," said Haslam. "They've become outstanding citizens. Usually, in most cases, there was something else they wanted to do with their life that they are prohibited because of the arrest history on their record."

However, Cyntoia Brown, a name that has been mentioned in the media recently, was not given clemency. 

He said he hasn’t finished considering the case, leaving the question of her release unanswered.

"Our role is not to be the 13th juror and not to decide is the punishment system the right one, it's to say did the process work right? Did the process that's set up by the judicial system in our country work correctly, and we're in the middle of that evaluation," said Haslam.

During a parole board hearing, two members voted in favor and two against, and one board member recused himself.

Several members of the community came to the hearing to support Brown. A Franklin family even testified to committing to take Brown into their home if and when she would be released.

Parole Board Votes On Cyntoia Brown Case 
Campaign To Release Nashville Inmate Goes Viral

The story sparked national outrage last year after several celebrities, including Kim Kardashian and Rihanna, posted Brown's story on Twitter and Instagram.