Sara was just two months past her sixteenth birthday when she shot and killed G.G. At the time of her sentencing, the California Youth Authority evaluated Sara and determined that she was “amenable to the training and treatment” the juvenile system offers. She had never been arrested before, and had been an honor student and student body president.
Instead of being placed in the juvenile system, which would have resulted in her release at the age of 25, she was sentenced to serve the rest of her life in adult prison.
Sara is now 32 and has spent half her life in prison. On September 28, 2010, she petitioned California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger for clemency.
Two nationally known experts who recently evaluated Sara have concluded that she was suffering from the effects of what is known as intimate partner battering and the trauma of significant childhood abuse when she committed the crime.
Sara's clemency petition is based on the absence of expert testimony at trial explaining how Sara's actions were affected by the years of abuse she endured, as well as on her youth at the time of the crime and her subsequent rehabilitation in prison. She writes, “The woman I am today is … capable of making healthy choices for myself. … Today I can and do lead a life of example for others.”
The decision of whether to grant Sara clemency rests solely with the Governor.