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Pregnant Black Activist Protests 4-Year Sentence for ‘Disturbing Peace’

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A pregnant Black activist serving a four-year sentence in prison for her actions at racial justice marches will have her sentence reviewed this month. On Sept. 12, civil rights lawyer Bakari Sellers will argue before the judge that the punishment is unjust, NPR reports. Brittany Martin, 34, was found guilty this spring of disturbing the peace due to remarks she made to police, raising concerns about free speech and equal justice. In light of growing worries about her health and the welfare of her unborn child, due in November, her attorneys have been advocating for a lighter sentence.

Martin was acquitted of inciting a riot at her trial. Instead, the jury found her guilty of disturbing the peace, which usually carries a maximum penalty of $500 in fines and 30 days in jail. However, the prosecution presented the accusation as a “high and aggravated” offense, punishable by up to 10 years of imprisonment. Martin’s counsel claimed that Judge Kirk Griffin did not permit them to explain the distinction to the jury or the possibility of a far harsher punishment. Advocates compare her case to Jan. 6 Capitol rioters, some of whom received shorter sentences.

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