“Clear Her Name” opens with a young woman visiting the dentist to have her wisdom teeth removed. Soon after, she is accused of a brutal crime. Anelia Sutton’s 2021 book “Clear Her Name,” written under her pen name Anne Smith, is a true story revealing the lengths a mother will go to vindicate her daughter from a ruthless justice system bent on locking her away.
This real-life plot will soon leap from the pages to spread its message of social justice in a gripping docu-series. “None of this is easy,” says Sutton, “but sharing this truth is worth it because what happened to me — what happened to my daughter — could have easily happened to anybody.”
The true story behind the book and upcoming movie
“Clear Her Name,” published by the Iron Sharpens Iron Council, follows Anelia Sutton’s harrowing story of a mother forced to find the legal answers that will bring justice to her daughter. The nightmare begins as Sutton’s daughter returns home from a routine dental procedure with medication to ease her pain. Ultimately, however, the prescription’s side effects cause more pain than they could ever take away. Sutton’s daughter, a loving mother, inexplicably becomes violent toward the two children she loves more than anything in the world. Incarcerated and then committed to an institution on grounds of insanity, she is torn from her children and forced to endure an eight-year struggle for freedom. The tortuous years send Sutton’s daughter’s once loving family into a spiral of betrayal, divorce, and untold heartache.
Sutton finds she alone must defend her daughter against state doctors and an over-zealous prosecutor. “I pleaded with the public defender to ask for ‘not guilty by reason of temporary insanity,'” Sutton recalls. “My daughter is not insane. She was involuntarily intoxicated. When you get a prescription drug, you don’t expect to be intoxicated. That’s clearly involuntary.”
Sutton’s faith in the justice system quickly fades. She watches helplessly as her daughter is imprisoned, institutionalized, forced to take powerful medications, turned upon by her husband, vilified by the media, and denied the right to be a mother to her children for more than eight long years. She realizes if justice is ever going to be won, she will have to be the person who fights for it.
Sutton starts her own legal research into the lies that trap her daughter in the clutches of the justice and mental health systems. She educates herself and gathers supporters by sharing the truth. Success means clearing her daughter’s name, and maybe even transforming the justice system forever, but it is an uphill road that few can climb alone.
“Let the chips fall where they may. I’m ready for the lies this time,” Sutton says. “I didn’t understand it back then, but I can be bold now because I know what was happening and what is still happening. So many people are being railroaded by the legal system. They get away with it because they keep you in isolation. You don’t know what to do, you’re beaten down, and you just quit. Well, not me. I’m building a network, and I want to put a stop to this. I want to bring truth back to justice. It’s bigger than me. It’s bigger than my daughter. It’s bigger than one case. If I can help prevent something like this tragedy from happening to anyone else, I will have done my job. I cannot remain silent and let these liars get away with this anymore.”
The author who lived through Clear Her Name
Anelia Sutton is a gifted writer, activist, and humanitarian who has worked tirelessly to share her daughter’s heartrending story through a novel, website, videos, social media posts, and an upcoming movie. Her work has been featured in over 240 media outlets, including NBC, ABC, CBS, Fox News, Huffington Post, and Forbes.
Sutton founded the #ClearHerName movement with the dream of freeing her daughter and reuniting her with her two children. She also founded the Iron Sharpens Iron Council, a community that started as a small Facebook Group but has since grown into a global platform inspiring people from all walks of life to take peaceful action and support causes that align with their beliefs. Sutton’s eight-year battle to exonerate her daughter launched her career as a motivational speaker, thought leader, and social activist.
“I have nothing to lose,” Sutton remarks. “My daughter is giving up hope of restoring her name, but I haven’t lost my faith. I’m going to keep fighting. I want her name clear, and I want a public apology.”
“Clear her Name” is not alone as it addresses Social justice
Social injustice leaps from the pages of “Clear Her Name.” Sutton was forced to endure blatant examples of fraudulent evidence and perjury during her daughter’s trial and commitment hearing. Inequity in the United States justice system has been a reoccurring theme in today’s news and current events. Thanks to the efforts of authors like Sutton, the issue is also being addressed in mainstream media such as novels, TV programs, and movies.
Viewers of the upcoming movie “Clear Her Name” are likely to catch echoes of Ava Duvernay’s “When They See Us.” This 2019 miniseries delves into the 1989 wrongful convictions of five boys of color. After extended interrogations, the boys broke down and offered coerced confessions to the sexual assault and attempted murder of Trisha Meili as she jogged in Central Park. They pleaded guilty and served years in jail before the true attacker was finally apprehended.
The plot of “Clear Her Name” also resonates with Hank Steinberg’s 2020 legal drama “For Life.” This ABC series is based on the true story of Isaac Wright Jr., a man who was wrongly convicted and ultimately succeeded in proving his own innocence. The show’s protagonist, Aaron Wallace, portrayed by Nicholas Pinnock, becomes a lawyer while in prison, litigating cases for other inmates while fighting to overturn his own life sentence.
When racial equity is featured in the media, it becomes part of the conversation. The upcoming movie adaptation of “Clear Her Name” raises awareness of an issue society can no longer afford to ignore. For more information on Iron Sharpens Iron’s fight for social justice, Sutton’s book, and updates on the movie, readers can visit https://clearhername.com and https://ironsharpensironcouncil.com.