Antwon Bryan

Justice System Reform
Image of Roy Cooper's Executive Order No. 208 establishing the Juvenile Sentence Review Board

Case Summary

Filed 05/24/2024
Updated 06/03/2024

SCSJ is seeking a gubernatorial pardon on behalf of Antwon Bryan, who was sentenced to 103 years for a crime he committed when he was 17 years old. Antwon has already served over 30 years in prison and is currently in minimum custody at Forsyth Correctional Institution. Two of Antwon’s co-defendants have already been released from prison and another one died in prison. If Antwon were sentenced today for the same crimes, he would receive a maximum sentence of just over 22 years. Yet, because of the sentencing laws in place at the time of his arrest, he essentially received a life sentence for a non-homicide crime.

SCSJ’s is submitting a clemency petition on behalf of Antwon to the Juvenile Sentencing Review Board (JSRB), which Governor Roy Cooper established by Executive Order in 2021 to review the large number of cases in North Carolina involving children who were sentenced to extraordinarily long prison sentences.

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Case Documents

Filed: 04/08/2021

Why it's Important

North Carolina became the last state in the nation to raise the age of juvenile jurisdiction to include 16- and 17-year-olds. This legislative change, which went into effect in 2019, recognized the need to treat kids like kids, and the ever-growing body of research in developmental psychology and neuroscience which confirms that adolescent brains are not yet fully mature when it comes to higher-order executive functions such as impulse control, planning ahead, and risk avoidance. Antwon Bryan was 17-years-old when he was sentenced to 103 years in prison for a non-homicide crime in 1993. He has demonstrated tremendous growth and maturation. We believe he deserves a meaningful opportunity for release and a life outside of prison.

More than 80% of people sentenced to North Carolina prisons for crimes they committed as juveniles are people of color. And more than 91% of people sentenced to die in prison for crimes committed before they turned 18 years old are racial minorities.