Women's rights group launches campaign for commutation of Tomiekia Johnson

"Governor Newsom and his Office have an ethical responsibility to expedite parole for qualified inmates like Tomiekia."

A women's advocacy group launched a new campaign Wednesday for Tomiekia Johnson, a woman who has been incarcerated at the Central California Women's Correctional Facility and sentenced to 50 years in prison for killing her historically abusive husband, to receive clemency. 

In order to help the effort for Johnson to receive clemency and thus be let out of prison, the campaign urges people to call, write a letter, or email the office of Gov. Gavin Newsom (D). 

Phone calls would go to Newsom's Office of Legal Affairs, while letters and emails go directly to Legal Affairs Secretary Eliza Hersch. 

A call script was provided for contact by phone, which notes that "Tomiekia and her supporters have repeatedly contacted state justice system officials and applied for commutations and clemency, but have received little to no response." It asks that those at the office "please give [Johnson's] case deeper consideration so that [she] can return home, heal, and help build a better world beyond bars."

Similarly, the script for letters and emails states that "The length of Tomiekia’s sentence is not commensurate with the rate of her rehabilitation," and that "Governor Newsom and his Office have an ethical responsibility to expedite parole for qualified inmates like Tomiekia." It also points out that Johnson has been imprisoned for 13 years and counting, and that "she has met all of the rehabilitative qualifications to be considered for parole."

According to the Survived & Punished Project, Johnson, a former police officer, dealt with "severe domestic violence" prior to her incarceration, and fatally shot her husband as she was "defending her life during a physical assault." After reporting the incident to police, she was ultimately not arrested or charged until two years after the incident. There is also video evidence of some of the abuse faced by Johnson. 

In November 2020, Johnson's then-13-year-old daughter reportedly contacted Newsom herself, writing a letter to the state governor in which she corroborated the claims of abuse by the now-deceased husband and implored him to back the requested clemency. 

While incarcerated, Johnson famously wrote about her experience being housed with men despite being in a female prison. Men in California had been able to secure transfers to women's cells by claiming their gender identity to be female after a new state policy went into effect beginning January 1, 2021. 

Johnson's campaign announced that its goal is to get 100 calls as well as 100 letters or emails sent over to Newsom's office. 
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