Emergency Compassionate Release Filed For Vern Braswell in Court

January 9, 2021

By @BlackDefendants

On Wednesday, Dec 30th, a motion for an emergency compassionate release from prison was filed in state court for Vern Braswell due to his cancer diagnosis and the pandemic. Vern has four years remaining on a 24 year sentence. (To view a copy of the court documents go to

The filing makes the following points:

•    The federal prisons and other states have been granting compassionate releases to prevent the unnecessary deaths of vulnerable inmates like Vern for months.

•    There's a new more contagious version of COVID-19 in the U. S. and Tennessee has been declared in a state of emergency due rising COVID-19 outbreaks and decreasing hospital space.

•    Approximately 25% – 30% of cancer patients die when they contract COVID-19.

•    Vern is a minimum security inmate who's already eligible for trustee status.

•    Statistically speaking, if Vern were White, he would have already completed his sentence since Blacks are sentenced to 20% longer sentences than their White counterparts.

A Justice for Vern Braswell statement:

Vern Braswell, who is incarcerated and has served over 16 years in prison was recently diagnosed with cancer. Because there's a more contagious version of COVID-19 in the United States and because Gov. Lee issued a state of emergency due rising COVID-19 levels across the state, a Request for an Emergency Hearing was made today in state court asking for a compassionate release for Vern the same way federal inmates have been receiving for months to prevent unnecessary deaths. Those in prison and those with cancer are some of the most vulnerable victims of COVID-19.

We would love to have assistance from Just City, the ACLU, the NAACP, the Tennessee Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and anyone else interested in ending systemic racial inequalities in the criminal justice system.

We ask that you keep not only keep Vern Braswell in your thoughts and prayers, but all of those in situations like Vern during this tragic time in our city, in our state, and in our country. We pray that a judge will grant a compassionate release the same way federal inmates have been receiving to prevent unnecessary deaths.

Thank you.



Join us in helping to get Justice For Vern.  

FOLLOW @J4VernBraswell 


This was composed in conjunction with Black Defendants Matter.

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