BREAKING: Nan-Hui Jo Released From Federal Custody | #StandWithNanHui


Activists tell me that Nan-Hui Jo — the Korean survivor of domestic abuse who fled her abuser with her young daughter only to be arrested last year when she reentered the United States on a tourist visa and charged with child abduction — was released from federal detention pending possible deportation. After her first trial ended in a mistrial, Jo was convicted earlier this year and sentenced to time served, but was then immediately taken into ICE custody pending possible deportation.

Korean American community activists and women’s rights workers joined forces over the last year, working tirelessly to deman Nan-Hui Jo’s release and restored access to her daughter, who is currently under full custody of her father and Jo’s abuser.

Thanks in no small part to those efforts, Nan-Hui Jo was released from ICE custody last Friday, her supporters announced this morning. She is scheduled to deliver a public statement next Wednesday morning on July 27th.

From the press statement announcing Jo’s release:

We celebrate Nan-Hui’s release from jail as an incredible, critical victory following nearly one year of incarceration. We know, however, that the struggle is not over. She still needs to rebuild her relationship with her daughter, who hasn’t seen her mother since July 29, 2014. Despite her release from detention, she is still fighting deportation in upcoming immigration hearings. She is still challenging her unjust criminal conviction for child abduction, which resulted from the actions she had taken to protect herself and her child.

Nan-Hui’s release is just one step towards justice in a context of overwhelming personal and institutional violence and trauma: lengthy and undue detainment and forced separation between mother and child; an aggressive and racist prosecution from the Yolo County District Attorney’s Office; and the threat of deportation and permanent separation from her daughter from Immigration and Customs Enforcement in spite of laws meant to provide survivors with immigration relief. It is critical for us to see that these multiple abuses all stemmed from domestic violence: the violence itself, the enormous ignorance surrounding it and the complete failure to recognize and support survivors in their right to self defense and to protect their children. We live in a society where survivors are blamed and judged for staying in abusive relationships, yet, as in Nan-Hui’s case, are also unduly punished when they leave.

We believe that all domestic violence survivors deserve safety, dignity, and freedom, regardless of immigration status or criminal record. Criminalization, incarceration and deportation are not solutions for violence, and usually retraumatize both survivors and their children. Nan-Hui’s story shines a light on how the systems that say they help create safety and justice can instead further abuse, criminalize survivors, and become another mechanism that batterers leverage to control and punish survivors in the long-term. When a survivor’s actions to protect herself and her child are criminalized, we see great violence and injustice. This is particularly true for women of color. The recent cases of Nan-Hui Jo and Marissa Alexander are but two tragic examples of this. We know that most stories like this go unheard.

As Nan-Hui works towards rebuilding her relationship with her daughter, Stand With Nan-Hui hopes to continue supporting her until mother and child are fully free. While we celebrate this moment, we know that there is still so much work to do to change the systems that produced this situation to begin with.

Supporters are invited to continue supporting Nan-Hui Jo with donations and awareness efforts as she works towards reconnecting with her daughter. Supporters are also encouraged to stay involved as Nan-Hui Jo is only one of many women of colour and immigrant women survivors of domestic abuse who remain particularly vulnerable to miscarriages of justice by the immigration and criminal justice systems.

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  • 1maybeso

    If you are going to tell the story, might as well tell the whole story. Please don’t omit the fact that she admitted to throwing her baby, which is how the domestic abuse altercation began. Or that she lied to her daughter for years, telling the girl that she had no father.

  • The full details were included in the stories provided in the backlinks, which readers are expected to read before throwing around accusations of general bias.

    Regardless, she did not admit to “throwing” her baby, nor is this how the altercation began. She admitted to handing her baby to her partner, and that in the exchange, there was an accidental collision between the heads of father and child; even the partner agrees with this description of what happened. She didn’t launch the baby into the air like a football. Also, are you really trying to draw some sort of conclusion from the fact that she told her daughter that she had no father? Are you also planning on drawing moral conclusions about parents who tell their children that the presents that come at Christmas-time are delivered by Santa Claus?

  • 1maybeso

    Are you really comparing a person/child’s right to know about their parents to telling them about Santa Claus?

  • Are you really trying to suggest that Nan-Hui Jo deserves criminalization because she decided to tell her 4-year-old child that she didn’t have a father rather than to tell her 4-year-old child that daddy beat up mommy so badly they had to leave the country?

    Parents aren’t always honest with their children particularly when it comes to trying to shield them from issues they feel their kids are too young to handle. If you think it’s okay to tell extremely young children that Santa Claus was too busy this year to deliver gifts (when in actuality the family is too poor to afford presents), then why do you think it’s not okay to tell extremely young children that they don’t have a daddy (when in actuality, daddy beat mommy so badly she feared for her life)?

    You don’t have to agree with Jo’s parenting decisions. But it’s telling to me that your expectation of a balanced reporting did not demand that I also disclose in this post (a post that, by the way, was written with the presumption that readers are already familiar with the details of the case and that these particulars don’t need to be rehashed) that Jesse Charlton has a history of substance abuse, attempting to abandon both mother and child, repeatedly beating Jo, demanding an abortion of their child, and violently choking her while holding their baby in his other arm — an act that surely would at least have also count as having endangered the child. But you don’t ask to see those details in this post. No, what is clear here is that you’re not interested in balanced reporting; you’re interested in victim-blaming and excusing domestic violence. By extension, then, you see something meaningfully deviant in a parent telling a convenient lie to a 4-year-old rather than to force the child to have a conversation about domestic abuse before the parent feels the child is ready to have that conversation.

    Children have a right to know about their parentage, when they are old enough to both request and process that information. When we are talking about the general rights of children under the age of 5, we typically defer to the best judgment of the parent to assess whether the child is ready to receive that or other complicated information. This case is no different.

  • 1maybeso

    I went through your many back links and was unable to find any account that shows she peacefully handed off the baby, or any account that shows Charlton beat her multiple times. I did find these links, listed below, which seem to indicate that Jo did indeed handle the child in a reckless fashion, and may have thrown the child, leading to the altercation in which he shoved Jo against a wall. If that single incident makes Charlton a domestic abuser, then perhaps it stands to reason that Jo also qualifies for child abuse. Also, since we are adding backstory here, please don’t forget to mention that Charlton survived three road side bombs serving our country in Iraq and, as a result, suffered PTSD. So while he did, for a time suffer from mental illness, that does not mean he deserves to potentially lose his child forever, due to foreign abduction, and spend months at a time wondering if his child is even still alive.

  • Dude. Every single one of those links are actually, literally cited source material in my linked posts. Every single one.

    Next time you read back links, please actually read back links. And next time to claim to ‘discover’ something, don’t embarrass yourself by presuming to ‘educate’ someone who can document to have referenced those exact same links six months ago. Seriously. This is just sad.

  • Also, Please stop apologizing for domestic abuse. Charlton didn’t jeopardize access to his child by having PTSD. He jeopardized his access by repeatedly physically abusing his partner such that she feared for her life. Your attempts to obscure this amount to excusing domestic violence while blaming the victim. Ew.

  • 1maybeso

    I read of one incident. I didn’t not read anything about the multiple beatings you are claiming. Can you cite a source?

  • 1maybeso

    To be honest there are lot of frivolous link in your entries to wade through. I found some of these links from commenters who disagreed with you, if you claim those as your own back links. But I did not find any these links among the large number of links in your actual blog entries. I did read an account given by Charlton that directly contradicts what you are saying.

  • Then you ate admitting you did not read my archive fully or comprehensively, if you missed them. You also cannot simultaneously criticize me for I sufficiently covering the story and excessively covering the story.

    Finally, if you read accounts of Jo’s testimony and actually give it at least the same weight as Charlton’s (though arguably hers deserves more since she was not under the influence at the time of the incidents) you will see her discuss multiple instances of violence, of which the incident involving being slammed against a wall and choked was only the one to receive the most scrutiny.

    Of course Charlton’s testimony contradicts some of my summarization. That’s because I considered fairly the testimony of both parties. You apparently did not. Why are you placing greater weight on Charlton’s testimony than Jo’s?

  • James Hill

    She should have never been in jail I’m the first place

  • Solargreenman

    It is pretty well documented in the links provided by Jenn that Nan Hui lied at many points. 1. She lied when contacted by family courts claiming to be in the US when she was not. 2. She lied to continue to receive welfare benefits after she left the country. 3. She lied to her daughter telling her she was special and did not have a father. 4. She seemed to be claiming that every thing that happened to her was not her fault and did not seem to take any accountability for her actions.

    Jesse on the other hand seemed to tell the truth even when it reflected poorly on him. He took accountability for his action. These are some reason I would place more faith in Jesse’s testimony than hers.

    Jenn, I’m looking forward to your reading your spin of Anjali Ramkissoon the 100 pound 5 foot Asian fourth-year neurology resident whom was violently grabbed and thrown down by a male Uber driver and he walked away without even being arrested.