Judge Tammy Kemp, who faced widespread criticism after hugging convicted murderer Amber Guyger and gifting the former Dallas cop a bible, defended her decision saying that she “could not refuse” Guyger’s request.
“She asked me if I thought that God could forgive her and I said, ‘Yes, God can forgive you and has,” Kemp added. “If she wanted to start with the bible, I didn’t want her to go back to the jail and to sink into doubt and self-pity and become bitter.”
Guyger was sentenced to 10 years in prison for the murder of 26-year-old Botham Jean, which the cop claimed was a result of her accidentally walking into the wrong apartment.
Following the sentencing, Brandt Jean, Botham’s brother, asked if he could hug Guyger in a shocking show of compassion.
Guyger then asked if she could hug the judge.
“I didn’t do that from the bench,” Kemp said. “I came down to extend my condolences to the Jean family and to encourage Ms. Guyger because she has a lot of life to live.”
Still, Kemp’s actions drew ire, particularly from the Freedom of Religion Foundation, a nonprofit which says it works to defend the Constitutional separation of church and state. The organization filed a complaint saying that Kemp’s actions crossed the line into coercion when she gifted the bible.