ACLU wants justice for abused mother who failed to report child abuse she says she didn’t know was happening

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POTTAWATOMIE COUNTY, Okla. – She’s spent more than a decade behind bars. Now, people are lobbying to set her free.

It was back in 2004 when Tondalao Hall and her boyfriend, Robert Braxton, were arrested for child abuse. The Oklahoma division of the American Civil Liberties Union said she was also abused but didn’t know about the child abuse.

“In fact, the night Robert broke Tondalao’s son’s femur bone, Tondalao was out with her father searching for a home in an attempt to leave Robert Braxton,” said Allie Shinn with ACLU Oklahoma.

In 2006, she was found guilty and sentenced to 30 years.

“Tondalao Hall is a woman that has been incarcerated under a statute called ‘failure to protect,’” Shinn said.

Hall was convicted on four counts, her boyfriend was convicted on only two.

“They charged both Tondalao and her abuser as co-defendants,” Shin said. “But, what we’re concerned about is that, while Robert only served two years in county jail, Tondalao was sentenced to 30 years for not protecting her children sufficiently from abuse she didn’t even know was happening.”

A judge who heard the case said he couldn’t comment due to the judicial code of conduct. We also reached out to the district attorney’s office but haven’t heard back.

The ACLU said it wants justice for Hall and many more.

“I think the message is we don’t value women in this nation, and I think the message is absolutely that women are held to a higher standard in the criminal justice system than men,” Shinn said.

The ACLU will represent Hall at an appeals hearing on November 21. Demonstrators plan to be there to support her, and a writing campaign is also underway.

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