Mariame Kaba


The Sentencing of Larry Nassar Was Not ‘Transformative Justice.’ Here’s Why.

On January 24, Larry Gerard Nassar, the former national team doctor of USA Gymnastics, was sentenced to 40 to 175 years in prison for the sexual assault of minors. The sentence was handed down with biting words from Judge Rosemarie Aquilina, after a week of intense and moving pre-sentencing statements from Nassar’s victims. Aquilina noted that if the Constitution did not forbid cruel and unusual punishment, she might have sentenced him to be made a victim of sexual violence. She settled for an unsurvivable prison sentence, saying, to great public applause, “I just signed your death warrant.”

Not A Cardboard Cut Out: Cyntoia Brown and the Framing of a Victim

The evening of August 6th, 2004, 16-year old Cyntoia Brown shot and killed Johnny Allen, a 43-year-old Nashville resident who picked her up for sex. It was an act of self defense, she explained to police later; after Allen took her to his house, he showed Cyntoia multiple guns, including shotguns and rifles. Later in bed, as she described in court, he grabbed her violently by the genitals, his demeanor became threatening and, fearing for her life, she took a gun out of her purse and shot him.