Cheryl D. James was a senior at Jefferson High School in 1971 when she was arrested for assaulting an FBI agent who had come to her house to arrest her brother, Charles T. James Jr., for desertion from the Navy. Judge Gus Solomon sent her to federal prison for 18 months (she was 17), but he allowed her to finish high school first. She was arrested at her graduation. Her case caught the attention of civil rights activists, including the Black Panthers and the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, which accused the FBI and the justice system of racism for imposing such a harsh sentence on a teenager. The Cheryl D. James Defense Committee organized efforts to appeal her case and to raise bail. She was released on bail in March 1972, and her sentence was commuted in 1973.
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- Orhi104453; Photo file 113-A