Tennessee Rejects Cyntoia Brown's Appeal, Defends Her Life Sentence
In January the legal team representing Cyntoia Brown, the now 29-year-old woman who was arrested as a teen for first-degree murder, filed an appeal to challenge her conviction. Now, the state of Tennessee has offered a response.
As the Tennessean reports:
“A legal response filed Wednesday in the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals says a state court’s rejection of Cyntoia Brown’s appeal didn’t contradict U.S. Supreme Court precedent about cruel and unusual punishment.”
Brown is currently serving a life sentence for a murder that occurred back in 2004. Brown, then 16 years-old, was picked up by Nashville, Tennessee, real estate agent Johnny Mitchell Allen, who had solicited her for sex.
“He lay down with her but didn’t fall asleep. He kept getting up and standing over her. She became more panicked, convinced something was going to happen to her,” a report previously said. “Finally, she shrugged off his advances and, as he rolled over, she took a gun from her purse and shot him once in the head.”
Ultimately, she was sentenced to life in prison, only eligible for parole after serving 51 years.
Although Brown’s legal team has argued that Brown shot Allen because she feared for her life, prosecutors for the state continue to justify her life sentence, claiming that she shot him in order to steal from him.
Celebrities such as Rihanna and Kim Kardashian West have called for Brown’s release.
Shawn Holley, Kardashian’s lawyer, was recruited by the entrepreneur and TV personality to assist in Brown’s case.
“Kim asked me several weeks ago how she could help Alice Johnson in her fight for justice. We then began corresponding with Alice and her team of lawyers,” Holley said to the New York Daily News. “Since then, Kim has championed the cause of Cyntoia Brown and asked me to help her get involved in that effort as well.”