Cyntoia Brown Granted Clemency Hearing

An appellate court date has been scheduled to challenge the imprisonment of Cyntoia Brown, the Tennessee woman who killed a man that solicited her as a teenage prostitute.

It is an encouraging update in a case that has caught national attention. Brown shot and killed a 43-year-old man who had hired her for sex at the age of 16. She was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison in 2004.

According to the Tennessean, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati will hear oral arguments on June 14 from lawyers for Brown challenging her sentence as unconstitutional. Her lawyers have based their claim on a  U.S. Supreme Court ruling that finds life sentences for juveniles to be cruel and unusual punishment in most instances.

Brown’s lawyers filed a formal petition in December with the Tennessee parole board to commute her life sentence for her conviction. She is not eligible for parole until she is 69, and a national #FreeCyntoiaBrown effort, which includes Kim Kardashian’s lawyers, is also pushing to have her sentence commuted.

However, the state responded to Cyntoia Brown’s appeal in February, saying that they were constitutionally in the right to imprison her for life. The legal response filed in the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said that the state court’s rejection of Brown’s appeal didn’t contradict U.S. Supreme Court precedent about cruel and unusual punishment, the Associated Press reports. 

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