Is it possible that a routine dental procedure could lead to eight years in prison? For an unfortunate mother of two, this is precisely what happened. Anelia Sutton’s 2021 book, “Clear Her Name,” written under the pen name of Anne Smith, is the true story of a mother fighting to free her daughter from a justice system that seems anything but just. Her shocking story will soon reach new audiences in a gripping docuseries.
“Everyone needs to be aware of what is going on because this could happen to any one of us,” remarks Sutton. “The whole story is in the book and a follow-up docuseries. The truth needs to be told.”
The true story behind “Clear Her Name”
“Clear Her Name,” published by the Iron Sharpens Iron Council, shows the world the true story of the depths of a mother’s love and determination. The nightmare opens as Sutton’s daughter visits the dentist to have her wisdom teeth removed and returns home with a standard pain prescription. This medication causes unforeseen side effects, and Sutton’s daughter becomes uncharacteristically violent. Arrested for attacking her two young children, she is torn from the family who loves her and portrayed as a monster by the media.
Eventually, Sutton discovers she is the only one fighting for her daughter’s freedom. State doctors and a bloodthirsty prosecutor keep the young woman who acted under the influence of prescription drugs locked away long after the medication leaves her system. For over eight years, her daughter was forced to undergo powerful antipsychotic medications and denied the right to raise her children.
“Our public defender did not subpoena the people who could speak on behalf of my daughter’s character,” Sutton explains. “The doctors who helped my daughter in the hospital wanted to tell the court that she is an amazing mother and her psychosis was entirely based on the prescription in her system. They were never allowed to testify.”
With no one to help her and nowhere to turn, Sutton faces off against two powerful opponents — the United States Justice System and the mental health system. If she succeeds, she could free her daughter and shed light on a failing justice system. If she fails, she could lose her daughter forever.
How a real-life author and mother used the power of her words to fight social injustice
Born in the Republic of Panama, Anelia Sutton is a mother and grandmother who became an activist, humanitarian, and writer to save her daughter and reunite a family torn apart by the justice system. Her work has been featured on NBC, ABC, CBS, Fox News, Huffington Post, Forbes, and in over 240 other media outlets.
Sutton founded the #ClearHerName movement and the Iron Sharpens Iron Council to voice truths the public needs to hear. What began as a small Facebook community has since transformed into a group inspiring peaceful action in support of social justice around the world. Sutton leads the charge as a motivational speaker, thought leader, and social activist.
“I sleep better now that I’m bringing this out into the open,” comments Sutton. “This is my daughter, but she could have very well been anybody’s child — any one of us. This could have happened to anyone. We all go to dentists and trust them as medical experts who can take care of us.”
The upcoming movie adaptation of “Clear her Name” keeps Social justice in the conversation
Sutton’s battle with the United States Justice System is not the norm, but it is not unique. Today’s news is rife with headlines detailing the inequities found within the US justice system. Bringing social injustice from the news outlets to mainstream entertainment allows people everywhere to see the gravity of the issue.
Sutton’s upcoming movie is not alone in addressing these societal problems. Ava Duvernay’s “When They See Us” tackled similar issues head-on. This 2019 miniseries portrays the wrongful convictions of five boys of color in connection with the rape and attempted murder of a young woman jogging in Central Park. After harrowing interrogations, the five boys were coerced into offering false confessions, statements of guilt that lead to years in prison before the real criminal was finally brought to justice.
Sutton’s work also aligns with Hank Steinberg’s 2020 legal drama “For Life.” This series from ABC is based on Isaac Wright Jr.’s incredible story. Serving a life sentence for murder, Wright eventually succeeds in overturning his own wrongful conviction by studying law and fighting his case from prison. In this legal drama, the show’s main character, portrayed by Nicholas Pinnock, earns certification to practice law while in prison and takes on cases for his fellow inmates while fighting his own charges, as well.Updates on Iron Sharpens Iron’s fight for social justice, the book version of “Clear Her Name,” and the upcoming movie release are available at https://clearhername.com and https://ironsharpensironcouncil.com.