45 Years Later: Beverly Ann Ibn-Tamas’ Journey to Justice and Freedom  

By Cindene Pezzell, Esq.

Instead of help, Beverly Ann Ibn-Tamas got prison time. It took 45 years for her to get justice. 

For years, Ms. Ibn-Tamas was beaten and terrorized by her husband. In 1976, she was forced to defend herself against another attack, using the firearm her abuser held to her head only moments before.  

She was convicted of second-degree murder by a jury that was not permitted to hear crucial expert testimony about the impact of intimate partner violence.  Instead, the prosecutor used harmful myths and stereotypes about domestic violence to convince the jury to convict.  Ms. Ibn-Tamas got locked up for protecting her own life. 

Ms. Tamas survived beatings, asphyxiation, endangered pregnancies, and endless trauma. And then she was forced to survive prison. And survive she did. After her release, Ms. Ibn-Tamas went on to raise her family and pursue a very successful career as a nursing director. 

In December 2022 – 45 years after her conviction - President Joe Biden granted an unconditional pardon to Ms. Ibn-Tamas.  While we continue to celebrate this important act of justice, we must also continue to fight for those who risk criminalization just by surviving.  

The National Defense Center for Criminalized Survivors at BWJP works every day – and has done so for over 35 years - to continue to increase the opportunities for justice when survivors end up in the criminal legal system because of their experiences of being abused and to ensure that those doing time for surviving gender-based violence are not forgotten. 

Advocates, are you interested in helping to increase justice for criminalized survivors?  Check out our toolkit for ways to build effective responses in your community.  For jurisdiction specific information on pardons, expungements, and other forms of record relief, visit The Restoration of Rights Project

TAGS: #BWJP Announcements #Criminalized Survivors #Defense #News #Women

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